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Seville's industrial heritage, up for grabs


While I love modern architecture as much as the next design-obsessed travel journalist (Metropol Parasol here in Seville is a favourite), I also love old buildings, especially ones whose previous life can be clearly seen in their signage and styling which dates them to a specific era, and am a great believer in preserving them for future generations.
There are plenty such edificios around Seville, some of which are architectural gems - I'm thinking of the Naves de Barranco, by the Triana bridge. This iron and glass building, constructed in 1883, has been earmarked as a gourmet food market (appropriately enough since it started out as a fish market; more recently, it housed a tourist information office). It is probably one of Seville's best-known "industrial" buildings, due to its central location on Calle Arjona, sitting smack bang between the city centre and the river, and opposite Triana.

Now the Ayuntamiento has joined up with a Europe-wide initiative called the B Team Project (B for brownfield, as in site), to bring a new lease of life to these historic edifices by selling them to private investors. In other words, they can't pay for their upkeep, but don't want to be responsible for them falling down and looking messy. This November, the city is hosting a meeting of 200 European experts on industrial heritage. B Team Project has 300 million euros of funding.
This opportunity to provide some landmark properties with a new lease of life (hotel? multi-use space? arts centre?) comes with certain conditions: to provide jobs, and preserve the architectural features of the buildings. A few are still being used for their original purpose, though with no budget for structural renovation.
The other buildings included in the project include:
Corral de Artesanos in Calle Castellar
Fabrica de Sombreros de Fernandez Roche, in Calle Heliotropo (currently being used as a flamenco centre and arts workshop)
Mercado de la Puerta de la Carne in San Bernardo
Fabrica de Tabacos de los Remedios (moved there from the Carmen location, now the University)
Talleres de RENFE in San Jeronimo
Fabrica de Vidrio de la Trinidad, also in Avenida de Miraflores
Fabrica de Cruzcampo in Nervion - previously designated to be converted into a residential development, featuring a 20-storey tower, designed by a (st)architectural dream-team including Norman Foster and Jean Nouvel. The 750-million-euro project collapsed in 2010, four years after its conception, when its developer went bust.
Fabrica de Artillería in San Bernardo
The project is part of an European plan, which also includes cities such as Belfast, Dublin, Dresden and Turin. Seville's organisation responsible for dealing with B Team Project is Sevilla Global.
Blog published on 28 May 2012