On the left side of Pujada Roja de Manresa there is a large tower built on the side of the hill. This is the Carreras tower, a grandiose building made with good architecture that looks like a small palace. It was built around 1920 following the noucentista style. The Carreras Tower is the most successful example of Noucentisme in Manresa. Despite the great interest and architectural and artistic value, the building is in a process of ruin that has accelerated in recent years. And this is particularly serious because it could have been avoided if there had been care and diligence to protect the heritage.
The first time I went to see the tower was at the end of 2014. There was an Italian boyfriend who he told me guarded the tower and also did the maintenance. I was able to see a bit of the interior and found that it was spectacular, like a small Renaissance palace. The magnificent interior matched the impressive exterior of the great tower. At that time the state of conservation of the complex was quite good. Even so, it was still a large abandoned building that foreshadowed its imminent decline.
That first visit caused me a restlessness and perplexity to see that such an extraordinary building was so unknown to the people of Manresa. I talked about it with colleagues at the Study Center and we agreed that it was a building that needed to be looked after. In January 2015 I returned to Torre Carreras to take some photographs. My surprise was great to see that the building was completely abandoned, there was no one to guard it. The front door was open. People had entered inside and their passage had left a trail of destruction. There were graffiti on the walls that marred and destroyed the charm of the interiors. In some places they had made holes in the floor, in others they had broken down walls, they had destroyed the little furniture that was preserved. A total disaster. That situation had a big impact on me. I could not understand how it was possible that today, in front of our eyes, an asset that is part of our heritage, which is included in the Manresa Heritage Plan, could be destroyed with impunity.
The Regió 7 newspaper of 4/7/2015 said: “The vandalization of the Carreras tower in Manresa has been going on for more than 6 years. In 2009, it was already possible to freely enter the interior of the most valuable nineteenth-century house, protected by the heritage catalogue.”
From the Bages Study Center we reported the case to those responsible for Heritage at the Manresa City Council. We were surprised that they didn’t know anything about it. But the most incomprehensible and infuriating thing was that we were told that nothing could be done there because it was private property. They told us they would contact the owners. After many days they were able to contact the property and were told nothing could be done as the property was unclear as to who it was. There was a pending trial between the widow and the children of the first marriage. Until the trial was resolved and the property could be spoken to, the City Council told us that it could not do anything. We simply told them that the situation was critical because more and more people were entering and the destruction of the tower was rampant. Given the situation of impotence from the Bages Study Center we started the “Save Torre Carreras” campaign. It was April 2015. The state of abandonment and ruin of the heritage building was denounced and the signature of entities and individuals was requested. The document said verbatim
” The entities we sign urge the Manresa City Council, as responsible for the protection of our heritage, to take the necessary actions to save the Torre Carreras from destruction, because we will still be there in time if it acts quickly and diligently. If the property cannot be managed, as it is demonstrating, that the City Council take the appropriate measures by means of enforcement to prevent the building from being damaged, or that a way be found so that it passes into public or private hands an entity that takes care of it. “
Despite everything, nothing was done. And the tower continued to be shaken exposed to the action of any trencher. The process of destruction was advancing without stopping. We lamented, we despaired but we didn’t know how to do anything, just wait for the City Council to do what it should have done from the beginning, which was to protect the building. The press reported on June 17, 2015 that the City Council had put fences and police tape around the tower indicating that the building could not be accessed. But the measure was useless. People kept coming into the building. And months passed until the City Council decided to block up the entrances through which the building could be accessed. Once this closure was done the entry of miscreants was finally stopped. But the damage was already done. The degradation process had accelerated greatly in a short time. With the building closed, the express destructive action due to the action of careless people stopped. But even so, the degradation suffered by every building abandoned and open to the elements continues. The most dangerous thing is the roof because if it starts to leak, the process of destruction accelerates a lot. Today we can see the still majestic Torre Carreras, but in the midst of decay it calls for urgent restoration.
This case and others like it such as the Panyos Factory, the Nova Factory, the Creu del Tort road, etc. they have made me see that the issue of Heritage in Manresa does not receive the attention or solutions that would be needed to live up to a cultured and advanced society that takes care of its Heritage as the most precious collective good.