The president of Port of HuelvaPilar Miranda, opened this Tuesday the recreation of the Fountain of Nations, one of the hallmarks of Huelva’s historical heritage recovered for the enjoyment of Huelva residents. Located at the southern end of the Estuary walkthe reconstruction of this symbol of the city has cost more than 142,600 euros and has been designed by the architects Antonio López and José Suárez under the initiative and subsequent tender by the Huelva Port Authority.
Pilar Miranda, highlighted during the opening ceremony that “for the Port of Huelva it is a priority to continue working on actions that benefit our city, such as this reconstruction that citizens can already enjoy and that is a faithful replica of the Fountain of the Nations, one of the main architectural identity signs of Huelva, which should never have been lost in the 1960s and which we return to the city today.”
He also thanked Diego Lopa, writer, presenter and promoter of Huelva memory, and Francisco José Martínez, professor at the University of Huelva and researcher of myths and legends of the city, “for their support and involvement as promoters of this initiative together with the Port Authority since they have contributed their affection, all their enthusiasm and knowledge to the project since the first visit they made me to the Port to make this Fountain a reality as part of the hallmarks of Huelva and its port”.
Likewise, Miranda has highlighted the research work carried out by the architects Antonio López and José Suárez to recover the original construction of the Fuente de las Naciones as faithfully as possible, and the Díaz Cubero construction company, the care with which it has carried carried out the construction and finishing of this historical place for the citizens of Huelva.
In addition, the president of the Port of Huelva added that “from the Port of Huelva we continue working to maintain and recover our architectural heritage, valuing our Assets of Cultural Interest.” Proof of this has been the rehabilitation of the Columbus Monument, “which we have already made available to Huelva society in a perfect state of restoration and with full conservation guarantees, and which is added to other heritage recovery projects in which we are working, such as the recovery of the Tharsis Dock, whose rehabilitation we have already begun.”
For his part, Francisco José Martínez, professor at the University of Huelva, pointed out that “the collective memory of Huelva must live in our days with happy memories that come true. We must not remove or abandon our buildings and architectural elements, and those of us who lost must fight to recover them, as is the magnificent Fuente de las Naciones, which thanks to the port authority and the efforts of technicians, architects, artists, landscapers, masons and gardeners we can enjoy today”.
The writer, presenter and disseminator of the memory of Huelva, Diego Lopa, has highlighted in a few words full of memories and experiences of adolescence, how the Fountain was the destination of his walks on Sunday mornings and how this monument is memory alive of several generations of Huelva.
During their intervention, the architects Antonio López and José Suárez have underlined that it is an architectural work “with a very careful execution, which in 1917 was already part of the current known as regionalist architecture, which at that time was beginning to emerge, and whose best exponents we can see through the works carried out at the 1929 Universal Exhibition in Seville”. Some very significant examples of Huelva are the IES La Rábida, the Casino de Aracena, the Casa Tiro Pichón de Jabugo, or the Source of the Nations itself.
This recovery project was born with the aim of returning this historical element to the city of Huelva, which was originally located on Avenida Francisco Montenegro and was demolished in the sixties of the last century.?
The recreation inaugurated today respects at all times the design of the original construction through extensive documentary research work, and is integrated into a citizen space such as the Paseo de la Ría and the recent rehabilitation of Francisco Montenegro avenue.
The old Fountain or Bank of American Nations was inaugurated on July 9, 1917. This set of sculptures was built as a “resting area” and is located about 500 meters from the Rio Tinto Company wharf, just where the Nuevo Colombino stadium is currently located.
Made of brick, glazed ceramics and wrought iron elements, it was made up of a continuous bench with a back and elliptical in shape. In the center of the complex was the most relevant architectural element that housed the drinking water fountain and the shield of the Port Works Board, whose initiative the project was due to. Likewise, it exhibits the shield of Spain and of ten countries of the American continent such as Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile and Bolivia.
In its recreation, the same original traditional materials have been used: ceramic brick, tiles and wrought iron elements. On the other hand, there is the contemporary fountain, made with current materials.
For the reproduction of the historical fountain, the traditional materials have been made by hand, both the special ceramic pieces as well as the tiles and the wrought iron elements.
The tiles, hand-painted by a company from Huelva, are grouped into two types: those with a continuous geometric pattern and those with specific motifs, such as the shields of the American nations or the Port of Huelva.
The fountain’s spout, in the shape of a shell, has been sculpted in one piece, as well as the base of the two lampposts that flank the fountain.
Design of the back of the Fountain of Nations
As highlighted by the team of architects, it is unknown what the back of the monument was like since there are no photographs showing it, so it has been decided to add a transitional element between the modernity of the Paseo de la Ría, with a avant-garde design awarded with the Andalusia Urbanism Prize, and the tradition of the Fuente de las Naciones, as a historical element of the city.
This element of transition between both, modernity and tradition, is a covering with corten steel that also wants to be a tribute to mining, to which the Port is so linked. Likewise, the architects of the project have highlighted that the historical location It gave the Fountain of Nations a frontal view in which its concave face prevailed, while the new implementation allows a perimeter route and a complete view. For this reason, in the convex area of the fountain, a continuous bench made of steel has been introduced that qualifies the area that has historically been the “rear”.
Its design, with minimal lines, assumes its secondary role and does not try to compete in prominence with the historical image. In its center the steel plate is folded perpendicularly and “three sails” or “three ships” are formalized on a sheet of water, as an allusion to the Americanist vocation with which the Fountain of Nations was built.