Work carried out in historic settings can often spring surprises in the form of hidden remains, which are vital to respect in order to conserve our heritage, the heritage of all of us. That said, a major input of innovation is needed to protect these architectural gems. This is the case with the renovation work carried out by Sacyr Construcción at the Sant Antoni market in Barcelona. Located on the Roman road known as Via Augusta, the market linked the Spanish city of Cádiz and the French town of Narbonne in Roman times, as the road passed through Barcino, the Roman name for Barcelona.
Innovative solutions are being applied in the market to protect these relics, ranging from the 1st to the 17th century, such as the original stretch of the legendary Via Augusta and the remains of the defensive stronghold of Sant Antoni. Their efforts have won the renovation team, made up of Miguel Ángel Pérez, Pedro Carrera, Óscar Torres, Pedro Collado, José Oliveras and Ismael Navarro, and the central technical office department, comprising Ángel Sánchez and Ramón Fernández, the ‘Natural Innovators’ award in the ‘Re-inventors’ category that Sacyr gives each year at Christmas.
In order to renovate the spectacular Sant Antoni market, they managed to carry out an indoor excavation involving 180,000 m3 in the heart of Barcelona and taking care of the countermure (80 metres of a masonry wall measuring 2 metres in width and 5 metres in height) and the 400-square-metre stretch of the Via Augusta.
Reappraising the longest Roman road in Hispania
In both cases, the archaeological remains were shored up using temporary micropile pylons in order to continue excavating. At the same time, it was necessary to recalculate all the foundations and the floor slabs of the four floors of the building so that they were capable of supporting the extra weight of the archaeological remains permanently. The countermure weighed an average of 10 t/ml and the stretch of the Via Augusta to be maintained weighed close to 1,600 t.
In the case of the countermure, perforations were made at the base, each 30 cm apart, to make it possible to place metal sections inside them that would hold it up, and in the case of the section of the Via Augusta, which was paving placed on earth, it was necessary to use a continuous support created by manually ramming 21 adjoining metal frames underneath the road, so that the earth base was replaced by a new base made of a metallic structure.
The team work achieved by the central technical office, representative, group leader and renovation work team has made it possible to meet the client’s needs while contributing incredible added value to the market project and to the city of Barcelona itself. Sacyr’s commitment to innovation “is what sets us apart from the competition”, as the prizewinning team pointed out, and is what, through the ‘Natural Innovators’ awards, leads us to “feel proud to belong to a genuine company that encourages us”.