Cal Massó

 A public arts production center in an abandoned distillery and carpentry.


Territory / Ecosystem

41°09'29.8"N 1°06'07.8"E


This project was developed in two phases. In 2003, we were asked to refurbish an old carpenter workshop. Its atmosphere was magic, loaded with past carpentry actions and a sawdust patina.The place was rented so the transformation had to be temporary and easily removed. 

The second phase is in the Massó abandoned distillery. Again, the place was full of a life that was long gone, and materials that could be reused and upcycled.




Temporary, low-cost arts production cycles?


The comission was to bring an industrial building from the early 1900s back to use so it could become an art production center for Reus. In the first phase, we had to develop a program, for there was none. The  transient nature, the extraordinary conditions of the existing place and the low budget available guided us all the way.

So the initial question was something like: We have this empty, old space, and we want to turn it into an arts center, but we haven't thought about what an arts center is today. We set out a workshop space, where artists in residence could develop the works that they would present at the end of their stay. During the second phase, with the two year experience, the needs were clearer. A bar, an office and a storage.



Patina, memory,

presence and absence,

three-layer larch boards and steel.


During the first phase, a light enclosing system had to be developed, so that it could be easily assembled and removed. 
In the second phase, we could reuse many of the objects and materials found in the distillery.

Architecture: David Tapias, Núria Salvadó
Architecture collaborator: Pep Anglès
Arquitecte tècnic: Jordi Royo
Bill of quantities: David Tapias, Núria Salvadó
Structural engineer: Proenar
M/E: Josep M. Delmuns
Constructors: First phase Construccions Vinaixa (contractor), Cal Fuster (carpenter). Second phase Constècnia (contractor), Auximesa (blacksmith), Parquets del Baix Camp (carpenter), QVerd (gardener)




In order to turn this empty, magic built atmosphere into a public arts center, we need to:

1. Clean and heal its structure and physiology, a little damaged from so many years of a derelict life.

2. Update its services. Bring light, electricity, ventilation, and comply with all current regulations without damaging its character, its patina. How much dust and rust can we keep?


The project respects and intensifies the memory of the former activities, their scars and atmosphere, that conform the qualities of this place. 

1. Project economy; to invest in the program.
2. Temporality of the proposal. When the project started, the space was rented, so it had to last long and be easily dismantled, transported. A campsite adapted to its environment.
3. To clean and adapt. The building has enough architectural qualities, it is only necessary to install new technologies and services. To keep and respect its atmosphere, a result of the biography of the building. 
4. Cal Massó is not a museum, it is a production space where creativity is intensified by direct interaction of people. The project builds this idea.

At the same time, it allows a diversity of uses, working with a system that enriches the program. The new intervention must collaborate with the place:


1. To intensify the existing atmosphere. Sediments are not eliminated, they are worked with. To use the patina, a print of its uses (the architect Pere Caselles, distillery, carpentry...). 
2. Climatization. To get the different necessary airs to work, relate or contemplate in it.

An assembling system that adapts to the particularities of the building (including its history) turning into doors, windows, floor, toilets, walls... It is thought to be as easy, fast and tireless as possible.





Easy does it.

Detailing less labour.


The first phase site works were supposed to be fast, easy and simple. We encountered unexpected, hidden surprises in the structure and infrastructure of the existing building, which slowed the process down. We reused the leftover sawdust from the fabrication of the wooden frames as infills for walls. Their assembling process was indeed fast, easy and simple.


In the second phase, as we knew the building's physiology and anatomy much better, everything went smooth, with no unexpected issues.


A day in the life

José Hevia
February 10th, 2010.









From public to private to public?


This old space proved all its resilient qualities allowing many diverse activities inside it: from circus to rock concerts, from suppers to yoga, from high school exhibitions to the most sophisticated performances.

The global economic downfall and theft, and the lack of imagination of our politicians kept this space closed for some months. The vines in the patio kept growing, blossoming in spring and loosing its leaves in autumn. Now it is open again under private management.