El Cerillero, Gijón

At the beginning of the 20th century, a hollow glass factory opened its doors in the western area of Gijón (nowadays, La Calzada) supported by the company J. Ramírez y Cía. The intense industrial activity in this area was prolonged throughout the 20th century due to its advantageous location, in particular to its proximity to the El Musel seaport and to its excellent railway connection.

After several complications, the manufacturing facilities passed into the hands of the public limited company Cristalerías Asturianas (Cristasa) in 1947. The company, oriented towards the production of flat, hollow, bent and pressed glass and crystal, had reheating and tempering furnaces in its facilities, as well as workshops for grinding, polishing and carving. Among other objects, it manufactured lamps and chandeliers, as well as ornamental pieces. In the early 1950s, the ownership of the factory was taken over by Nicanor Noval Hevia, who owned ships and several timber businesses.

Once this complex was definitively closed in the early seventies, the Gijón City Council took over the ownership of the facilities. Years later, a large part of its facilities was dismantled, leaving only the central brick building, the chimney, and a furnace, located at the rear.

It was refurbished as a municipal initiative following the project drawn up by the team of architects formed by Indalecio Prendes, Fernando Meneses and Javier Uría de la Fuente: the old building was turned into a business centre. The refurbishment works, carried out between 1990 and 1992, are one of the earliest examples of the reconversion of an industrial building in Asturias, together with the transformation of the century-old Maribona tannery, in Avilés. This was a slightly earlier project carried out to adopt a similar solution in terms of its purpose: a startup company centre. 

From its inauguration in 1993 to the present, the old brick building is fully working as a municipal business centre.

Natalia Tielve García