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Beti-Jai restoration continues



The Pediment Beti Jai in Madrid his final rehabilitation road, reveals a neo-Mudéjar arch

09 may, 2017
He concludes the first phase of the rehabilitation works of the historical building, which recovers the original elements and structure. The most significant work include the recovery of the main facade and the intervention body stands.

The first phase of rehabilitation of the pediment Beti Jai, carried out with the aim to respect the structure and original features of the building and ensure its security and stability, has been completed. The works, carried out in the three bodies of the Beti Jai from 2016, have had a close to 2,800,000 euros budget.

Facade, arches and steps
The most significant work include the recovery of the main facade. This has been necessary to make shields, coveralls, pilasters and baluster molds which can faithfully replacing lost items. Also it has intervened in the body of tiers, reinforcing foundations and each of the plants. The partitions that the bleachers had been closed once it was no longer pediment, so that the locksmith is now in sight have been removed.

Discoveries
During rehabilitation, the responsible architects have made some discoveries: a neo-Mudéjar arch was found in good condition behind a wall, and some very innovative original flat tiles for the era were discovered in a bedroom.

These findings have allowed to get even closer to the goal of site; return to Beti Jai to its original state. For that purpose, there has also been a meticulous work of documentation and research, so it has resorted to newspapers of the time, documentary resources of libraries and the collaboration of associations and experts.

The lives of the Beti Jai
Beti Jai started to be built in 1893, at the height of the Gables in Madrid, with the design of the architect Joaquín Rucoba and the use of techniques and innovative materials at the time. From 1919 it ceased to be used as a sports facility.

Since then it was used in successive manner as the Commissioner of police and prison, space of trials for the bands of the Spanish Falange, military school, or garage, among others.

All those applications, the works, the carelessness and the passage of time caused numerous damage in the pediment and survival became threatening.

In may, 2015 the Ayuntamiento de Madrid completed the process of expropriation and acquired Beti Jai. Then work began to restore a building played host to the regulatory protections of the historical ensemble of la Villa de Madrid with the higher rank of monument. Beti Jai received further Declaration of national monument in 1991 and asset of Cultural interest in 2011 by the community of Madrid.

History
Beti Jai is a very unique building with high patrimonial value for Madrid located in the District of Chamberí began in 1893, with the design of the architect Joaquin de Rucoba and the use of techniques and innovative materials at the time. From 1919 it ceased to be used as a sports facility.

Since then it was used in successive manner as the Commissioner of police and prison, space of trials for the bands of the Spanish Falange, military school, or garage, among others.

All those applications, the works, the carelessness and the passage of time caused numerous damage in the pediment and survival became threatening.

It is welcomed to the regulatory protections of the historical ensemble of the Villa de Madrid with the higher rank of monument. He received statement of national monument in 1991 and asset of Cultural interest in 2011 by the community of Madrid.

In may, 2015 the Ayuntamiento de Madrid completed the process of expropriation and acquired the site. In December of that same year he began a work of research and collection of information for which was counted with the collaboration of entities, associations and professionals.

The General direction of heritage undertook the first phase of rehabilitation of the Beti Jai in order to respect the structure and original features of the building and ensure its safety and stability in 2016.

Before football
They say that the Queen María Cristina and her Court met and began to appreciate the sport of ball in San Sebastian. Fashion moved to Madrid and became cause great passions. Probably the bets that were made around the game helped feed the fans.

First the capital, the Jai Alaifronton opened in 1891 and she was then followed by many more. Among them highlighted the Beti Jai, which they called "el Teatro Real de los frontones" and which had a capacity of 4,000 people.

The best players of the time were invited to play in the pediments of Madrid, whose seats were full of fans of all kinds and ages. The hobby was falling in the early years of the 20th century. Problems around bets led to prohibitions and the sporting passions were managing to soccer.

Most of the covered pediments were adapting to another type of entertainment or activities. Real estate pressure made them disappear then.

As the Paris Opera
Beti Jai construction was rapid, not passed or one year from the beginning of the works to the inauguration of the pediment. It was devised wanting to draw attention: Joaquín Rucoba planes came out an eclectic facade inspired by the Paris Opera, elements of neo-Mudéjar style and a very light structure with cast iron columns and steel beams.

The pediment occupies a plot of 3,609 square meters and built surface reaches the 10,800 square meters.

Account with three bodies: the main, three heights and façade to the street of the Marqués de Riscal, was destined to main hall, rest rooms, administration offices, lockers. Another body, located on the back side, housed the pelotaris quarters, nursing and public coffee.

The third body, the bleachers, was devised with an inclination to allow visibility from anywhere. This curved beams were used in such a way that the structure was adapted to the angle of the stands.

Cars, jail or plaster
Beti Jai stopped working as a fronton in 1919 and record of that same year was requested license to widen a door, which led to the elimination also of part of the area of stands. It began to be used then as cars and garage workshop.

During the Civil War, in the defense of Madrid, the building was used as a police station and prison. In the early years of the dictatorship it was used as a building of tests for bands of the Spanish Falange. In the subsequent years was venue for the Assembly of devices and special military school.

In 1944 became objects of cardboard and plaster workshop stone, a usage that continued until the 1970s. His last known job was as garage and auto shop.

In 1977, the official College of architects of Madrid prepared a study before leaving the building that suffered and based on the history and objectives that prompted the construction of this building, be asked to conservation and public use, resulting in the cataloguing of national monument in 1991. Since 1989 the property remains unused.

Corrosion, humidity
After the acquisition of Beti Jai by City Hall and the decision to ensure their rehabilitation, the direction General of Heritage Area of the economy carried out an analysis of the State of the building. The list of diseases and damage is long.

The main façade
It is found in advanced state of deterioration. They had gone much of the original features such as the top balustrade, bases of columns, curved balconies or capitals auctions. The elements still remaining on the facade were at grave risk.

In the area of stands the degradation was also widespread. Some had disappeared and the plants had closed with walls, hiding the so characteristic of the building locksmith.

There were ramps and not the original holes, Carpenter had been lost. Advanced rot, corrosion, loss of verticality of the columns was detected in all bodies.

Original bricks had disappeared, the damages that were found were structural and serious.

A drawing in watercolor
The detected damage made necessary an intervention with the aim of recovering the building. Began an intense work of research and documentation in order to know in detail the original configuration of this singular space and all its elements.

After the review of newspapers of the time, visits to the National Library and other files such as the Royal Palace, recovery of original plans, meetings with historians and experts, the team responsible for the rehabilitation works failed to get a detailed picture of the Beti Jai as it was built at the end of the 19th century.

The collaboration of different entities, associations and professionals who have closely followed the last years of this singular building and contributed decisively to protect it from the disappearance was decisive.

A watercolor of the plane of the main facade allowed study details and also discover that the architect Joaquín Rucoba designed the pediment with a plant over which were finally built.

The lace to the view
The recovery work of the Marqués de Riscal façade with the composition, aesthetics and original finishes have been in the first phase of rehabilitation. Recovered items that were remnants, part or complete, as shields, coveralls, pilasters, baluster, get molds to reproduce all the elements.

Works of auction in cornices and paint on lower body work and cleaning the granite base were also. Recovered the verticality of the walls on its inner surface.

The procedure was repeated in the rest of facades, seeking to adapt to the morphology of each and the materials used. Eliminated the walls with which the stands had closed once it was no longer pediment. This has allowed to let see the locksmith, a kind of lace that characterized the original building and returns to be visible.

Plant-by-plant basis, he has performed by first strengthening the Foundation. Order to replace fragments of joists or strengthen them, they removed entrevigados and have rebuilt after. Concrete ribs that guarantee a greater burden have also been introduced.

They have sought and adapted identical to the original bricks for the walls return to a condition as close as possible to the original.

A surprise arc
To undertake the rehabilitation of the rear facade was confirmed that the main RollBar, of neo-Mudéjar style had disappeared.

Inside that body they found a septated area and to remove the walls discovered a twin arch which had gone on the outside. Thanks to that hidden arc could make a faithful copy and restore the facade to its original state.

The hidden tiles
One of the discoveries of this first phase of rehabilitation refers to the roof of the building. A bedroom where a few original tiles were found appeared in the wheelhouse. The uniqueness is that you it's Texas flat, very rare at the time in which was constructed the Beti Jai.

It could locate factory in Valladolid which came from these tiles and ordered new with the same original decorative elements are made to take a true recovery of the pediment cover, which currently is zinc.

The budget of works
Until now, the General direction of heritage has made three performances within the framework of the first phase of rehabilitation. The previous actions, with budget of 310,000 euros, concluded in July 2016.

This month it started structural consolidation and waterproofing of roofs of the main body of the building Pediment Beti Jai, amounting to 996.000 euros.

Modification of the project currently is being processed to include the change of cover with the original flat tiles.

Also in the summer of last year was undertaken structural consolidation and waterproofing of the rear body and covers steps of the building Pediment Beti Jai, with a budget of 1,500,000 euros. Subtracts a small intervention in the body of bleachers.


Revista de Arte – Logopress article (en Español)

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