One of the most unique corners of the Montjuïc mountain languishes waiting to come back to life. The historic Font del Gat building will once again house a restaurant, after the previous one closed in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The public company Barcelona Serveis Municipals (B:SM), responsible for the management of this space, has tendered the works with a budget of 470,948.43 euros (VAT included) to rehabilitate the exterior of the property and the surrounding gardens. Work is expected to start in September and finish in the first quarter of 2024, reports B:SM.
Specifically, work will be done on the façades, on the roofs, on the balustrades of the main garden, pavements and exterior drainage, as well as on the elevator whose machinery and exterior finishes will be renewed. In addition to the degradation due to the passage of time and graffiti as a result of vandalism, the main damage to the property is caused by humidity, which has caused loss of the paint layer and even mortar on the base of the walls and damage to the rotting carpentry at some point. They are not the only deteriorated elements. There is also a damaged pinnacle and some broken and displaced tiles.
In a second phase and once the new operator of the restaurant has been awarded in another tender, the reform of the interior part of the building will be carried out, still without a specific date.
As the building is listed, the volume and facades will have to be maintained, recovering their original textures and colors, as well as the carpentry, railings and decorative elements. The interior must also preserve the historical structures and decorations. Any intervention will require research and historical work that justifies and documents the original parts, defines subsequent modifications, its integration with the requested proposal and the conservation of the aesthetic and landscape environment of the special complex, detailed municipal sources.
In the gardens and in the sculptural elements, restoration, conservation and maintenance will be mandatory. The scope of the action covers an area of 943 square meters, although this project does not work on the emblematic fountain with its characteristic cat-headed spout.
After two decades, the building and the garden surroundings will be fine-tuned after the last major refurbishment in 2002. Today, part of the building houses the rich documentary collection of the Juan Antonio Samaranch Center for Olympic and Sports Studies, Managed by the Barcelona Olympic Foundation.
La Font del Gat is located inside the Laribal gardens, named after its initial owner, the lawyer and journalist Josep Laribal. The City Council acquired the land in 1908 to turn it into one of the first public gardens in the city. The modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch built the Font del Gat building in 1925 next to the existing fountain for baptisms, communions and other family festivities, probably also for the 1929 International Exposition and as part of other work carried out for the urbanization of the mountain of Montjuïc and the Plaza Espanya, includes the inventory of architectural heritage of Catalonia of the Generalitat. Subsequently, the building also served for a time as offices for the management of the park until the restaurant reopened.
With an eye on the centenary of the 1929 International Exposition, this emblematic space will revive as a restaurant, once one of the most popular picnic areas in the city with its well-known fountains.