Ferrovial On the Road with Ferrovial. José Manuel Ballester

A palace of wrought iron, stone, and glass

Zaragoza, Spain

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There was a time when the covered markets of Paris conquered the world. The nineteenth century was in full swing. Les Halles inspired architects to update the centers of commerce in cities around the world.

The Napoleonic-inspired pavilions made of iron and glass were recreated throughout Europe, and their influence still lives on today.

Félix Navarro already knew Paris well when he was commissioned to design the Lanuza market, Zaragoza’s central market, in 1895. With this vivid inspiration, the Aragonese architect sketched out an elongated rectangular building. It was divided into three naves that brought stone, glass, and steel together. It had archways, sculptures inspired by agriculture, hunting, fishing, and transportation, medallions, wrought iron grids. These are all a monument to the modernity of the past.The Mercado del Pilar was restored by Ferrovial Construction.

Navarro’s idea still lives on in today’s marketplace, which has just undergone careful restoration. Over the last two years, the elements with the greatest historical and artistic value have been restored. These include the objects made of cast iron, the Calatorao marble plinths, and the 42 ornamental placards of polychrome enamel. At the same time, the building’s structure was reinforced, especially the metal beams on the ground floor.

However, restorations require a lot of upgrading, integrating new techniques and materials into the ideas and designs of the past. Renovating Zaragoza’s central market has also involved adding a new wrap and enclosure with solar control glass, access to a future underground parking lot, and air conditioning systems.

With Les Halles in mind and Félix Navarro’s design in hand, merchants and traders are already back at work at the market. The world has changed a lot over the last century, but the market life in these walls of glass and wrought iron remains unchanged.

Mercado del Pilar, Zaragoza (Spain)

Mercado del Pilar, Zaragoza (Spain)

  • Spain
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