The “Modernista” Winery (Celler Modernista / Celler Cooperatiu) was born from the need for farmers to associate in order toto cope with the wine production process together. It was necessary to find a new architecturale style with new solutions for the large-scale winemaking process. At this point the figure of César Martinell was key. He was Gaudí’s a disciple and had of Gaudí and built the so-called "wine cathedrals". The building that we see now is what remains of the old winery, largely disappeared.
In 1918 and until 1924 Martinell began his most prominent activity: agricultural architecture. He built almost fifty of these types of buildings, which were mainly warehouses, oil mills, oil mills and a flour mill. He became a specialist in the construction of large buildings for the agricultural industry. In the case of wineries, in industrial enology, he had to look for references abroad by consulting the farmers themselves and observing the process closely.
The "Sindicato Agrícola y Caja Rural de San Measure" in Sant Cugat was established in 1921. It brings together a group of owners, basically small and medium-sized, and tenants who were dedicated their time to the cultivateion of the vineyards and the posterior production of wine. The explicit objective in the statutes was to facilitate the work of making and marketing the wine, and obtaining cheaper products for cultivation. What they were after was:
• Lower cost of fertilizers
• Access to agricultural machinery
• Establish a cooperative winery
• Reduce the abuses of the capitalist system
There were 51 founding members, but the beginnings were not easy at all as there were attempts by some landowners to control the union and move it away from the principle of "one man, one vote" in favor of the wealthiest interests. This led to the withdrawal of capital from certain partners, leaving the cooperative in a difficult financial situation. The project that Martinell was commissioned to (1921) could not be fully executed.
Although taking a looklooking at the building, we can broadly review see the most characteristic elements of modernism in broad strokes, and we will see that not many can be identified in this construction. However, there are a few:
• Catenary arches (the arc that supports itself)
• Turns in the structures
• Exposed brick
• Stone masonry baseboards in the composition of the facades.
In fact, the architect Martinell is usually cited as a man of the nineteenth century. But Martinell's connection with Gaudí and the use of some of his constructive solutions, as well as some of his principles, are what refer us to the movement. The architectural language of the winery corresponds to the transition phase between Gaudinian-affiliated Modernism and RenaissanceNoucentisme. Gaudí's influence is clear in Martinell's work, he was a disciple, friend, biographer, disseminatordisseminator, and student of his work.
His principles in agricultural architecture were applied in this winery and they were:
Martinell achieves a balance between constructive simplification, architectural expression, functionalityfunctionality, and monumentality. The ornamental aspects are a consequence of the rational use of the structures (they themselves already decorate). Structures are never masked with superfluous additives or coatings.
The design of functional elements was subject to the principle of economy. Due to the First World War the cost of materials such as wood went up a lot. Therefore, Martinell lookedseek for new solutions:
• Buried tubs and hoppers due to the lack of insulation material
• Use of the Catalan vault. The Catalan vault did not need specialized labor. It was a traditional constructionconstruction, and it was a structure that cost little material (it does not need a formwork to be built, for example) and is light.
• Use of catenary arches
• Brick as a local material (therefore cheaper)
The winery was operational until 1988 when the last wine production was madetook place. In 1994 it was demolished leaving only this part that we now see.