Author: Mercè Bosch Roma
Edition: Escola Arquitectura La Salle Universitat Ramon Llull, 2011
Characteristics: 42 pages, 14 x 21 cm
The city of Balaguer lived for centuries secluded in the space configured by the walls. The river marked a limit that differentiated the space of habitat and that of work; the urban space and the orchards, the main source of wealth and survival of the Balagarians, an unalterable place in the imagination of the citizens.
But since before the war of 1936-1939 the need for growth was perceived due to the density of the urban fabric within the walls and the impossibility of expanding services. Surely, it was this perception which in the year 1940 led to the idea of building a bridge at the height of the Mercadal linking the nerve centre of the city with a road that went directly to the railway station.
This capital fact definitely opened the doors of the new Balaguer. The construction of the new bridge was immediately followed by the project of urbanization and construction of the so-called “cheap houses”, following the criterion of peasant city driven by the Ministry of “Devastated Regions”, with houses in which each had its own orchard. Subsequently, other urban planning was carried out that ended up giving shape to the city plant that we have today.
But the 60s marked an inflection in the construction of some buildings, both for public and residential use. The architectural studies were anchored in a classicism favoured by the regime, but it was the architects of the time who looked to the outside world and, through their travels or the publications that came to them, a concept of modernity was introduced in new constructions, which was supported by the figures of the promoters of the works and the good work of the builders of the time.
In this way, Balaguer saw the rise of “modern” buildings such as the Tartera house, located at the corner of Fleming and Pare Sanahuja streets; the Pijuan building on the corner with Pare Sanahuja, the Parador, the sports pavilion and many others that will be shown at the exhibition that is presented at the Museum of La Noguera.
“L’arquitectura vehicle de modernitat. Balaguer anys 60” [Architecture, a vehicle of modernity] is a production of the Museum of La Noguera commissioned by the architect Mercè Bosch, studious of the architecture of this period in the lands of Lleida. The exhibition aims to highlight a series of buildings built four decades ago that have been absorbed by the urban landscape, mimicked by the growth of the city and that, by acquaintance, its character of pioneers of modernity in the city goes unnoticed. Architects like Damià Solanes or Mariano Gomà, private and public promoters, builders of the time, gathered in an exhibition with their works that have become living, meeting or enjoyment places for many Balagarians, and that recover through images and original plans the splendour of forty years ago.