Life

Index:

Introduction:

Domènec Balet i Nadal

(19/06/1844 - 15/02/1915)

Son of Josep Balet Manubens and Maria Nadal Sorribas, he was born in the walled city of Barcelona. In those days, its narrow streets witnessed the spread of cholera, the houses lacked ventilation and the hygienic conditions were appalling, which significantly shortened life expectancy, barely reaching 36 years for the wealthier classes and 23 years for the less fortunate.

It was not until 1854 that the walls would be demolished, but the high point came with the famous Pla Cerdà in 1860, which presented the ambitious project of the Eixample. Faced with the imminent expansion of Barcelona and the opportunities that lay ahead, Doménec Balet envisioned the possibility of carving out a promising future. He enrolled in the Master of Works course at the Sant Jordi Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts in 1862, earning his degree with outstanding distinction in 1869. This academic achievement laid the foundation for his outstanding professional career.

His talent, hard work and his cunning to know how to take advantage of the contacts that his father gave him with Manresa industrialists in the textile sector, as well as the social prestige of his wife, Maria Duran Trincheria, with whom they had four children, were essential for success. and with the appointment of Director of the German pavilion of the Barcelona International Exposition of 1888, he consolidated his professional career and reputation.

It was established in the most distinguished and coveted street of the city, in the emblematic Paseo de Gracia. He also acquired a large estate in Vallromanes, where he found refuge and delight in the midst of nature. However, his greatest professional achievement was yet to come. It was with obtaining the precious gold medal at the 1893 Chicago International Exposition that he reached the peak of his career. This recognition was a tangible testimony of his talent and mastery, placing him on a pedestal of national and international prestige and admiration.

However, not everything was joyful, probably the most painful moment of his life was when his architect son Josep died in 1905 at only 31 years old. He was surely his favorite son, with whom he shared the same architecture studio and to whom he had entrusted all his hopes of continuing with the profession.

The Pere Llibre House, the Alhambra Building and the Wax Museum are some of the most representative projects and the culmination of an extensive and fruitful professional and personal career was manifested in what would be his last architectural legacy. The Domènec Balet Modernist Building, located on Tallers street, the place where he lived his last years of life.

His father:

Josep Balet Manubens was of Manresà origin, we know from several advertisements in the press that he imported cotton and we believe that he most likely came from one of the textile business families from Manresa with the surname Balet (we hope to find out soon):

Diari de Barcelona 12.07.1874

His wife:

Maria Duran Trincheria (1850 - 13/01/1906). He was born in Ripoll but came from a wealthy family of landowners from Olot, although his family roots originated from Prats de Molló, in Vallespir, where his ancestors had held prominent positions within the military and political bodies of the State.

One of the family branches, were entrepreneurs in the cork sector and moved to Cassa de la Selva. Family ties were the reason why (as we explain below) his son, the architect Josep Balet Duran, designed the Can Trinxeria Urban Neoclassical Mansion project in Cassà de la Selva. In Olot there is also the Can Trincheria House Museum.

On January 13, 1906, Domènec Balet's wife died before him. After some time, Domènec Balet remarried Mercè Damer.

His sister:

José Roger Balet

Department store Dos Mundos Avda. Callao 312 

Dolores Balet Nadal had a son, José Roger Balet (1889-1973) who was a great businessman and philanthropist. At the age of 17, he emigrated to Argentina and amassed a great fortune by creating a chain of 22 Department Stores called Dos Mundos. He contributed to many charitable causes, but his main task was to give a total of 48 schools in Argentina, 5 in Uruguay and 1 in Chile, which earned him the nickname of "school sower".

He received many distinctions among the most important are:

His son Architect:

José Balet i Duran (1869 - 14/05/1905) continued his career obtaining the title of Architect on 08/08/1895 and becoming a young promise of architecture, but unfortunately he died young at the age of 36 due to a meningoencephalitis. 

His known works are: 

He also participated in the Exhibition of Fine Arts and Artistic Industries of Barcelona 1896 together with his father and presented:

Source: Diccionario Biogràfic J.F. Ràfols; Iconographic Study Can Trinxeria by Fàtima López Perez; Registro de defunciones Archivo Municipal BCN

Original plan of the façade signed by Josep Balet Duran

In the backyard of Can Trinxeria there is an original mill from the Neo-Mudejar style that we believe could also be the work of Josep Balet or his father Domènec Balet, since this was a style used by him in various buildings in Barcelona such as the Casa Pere Llibre or the Alhambra Building. But at the moment it is only an assumption, since no documentation is available.

Vial i Solsona Pantheon

*Non-original recreated image of the Auto Garage Términus

Signature José Balet Duran

His children Domingo and Enrique

Enrique Balet Duran 1915

"Los Deportes" Magazine 14 August 1904 

Domingo Balet Duran (1867 - 31/08/1936) studied law and first worked as a judge and later as a lawyer, but between both activities and together with his brother Enrique Balet Duran (21/12/1884 - 21/11/1936), they created the Auto Garage Terminus, one of the best car dealerships in Barcelona at the beginning of the 20th century.

Auto Garage Terminus was a multi-brand dealership and workshop, which began in 1901 selling cars of the Benz brand (currently Mercedes Benz) exclusively in Spain, but a short time later they included in their catalog, new and second-hand vehicles of the Berliet brand , Anglada, Hispano Suiza (among many other brands). This commercial activity was accompanied by the repair as well as the change of top brand tires.

Important events for the automotive sector took place at the Auto Garage, such as:

For more information you can visit the web: www.AGTerminus.com

His daughter Consuelo Balet

Consuelo Balet Duran ( - 12/02/1942) married José Duran Altimira, who was a great businessman who managed a holding company for companies in the textile, real estate and automotive industries. We understand that Cosuelo Balet had part of the shareholding in some of these companies, since several of the companies bore her first surname and that of her husband, and apart from her, she was a woman who had good capital. In Vallromanes there is a street with her name.

The set of companies was as follows:

• Duran Balet S.A.

• Fabril y Comercial Duran S.A.

• Inmobiliaria Duran Balet S.A.

• Motor Hall S.L.

• Huracán Motors S.A.

This last company Huracán Motors S.A. was well known for manufacturing motorcycles and tricycles and occupied the facilities in Poble Nou where the well-known Razzmatazz concert hall is now located. In this company appears as the last administrator Mr. José María Duran Balet son of Consuelo Balet.

For more information visit www.HuracanMotors.com

La Vanguardia 01/01/1958

Family Tree

Click the image to open the Family Tree of Domingo Balet y Nadal

Addresses

He resided in several addresses:

Gran Via 608

Modernist House Domènec Balet

Studies

He enrolled in the Real Academia Catalana de Bellas Artes de San Jordi in the course of 1862 - 1863. He was a disciple of Elías Rogent Amat (1821-1897) and Juan Torras Guardiola (1827-1910) and had as companions great names from architecture such as the internationally known Rafael Guastavino Moreno "The architect of New York", with whom he also combined studies and work at the Granell y Robert Architecture Studio, owned by master builders Jeroni Granell i Mundet and Antoni Robert i Morera, as can be seen in the three plans below that follow the same format, which they used to present their projects:

Presentation of Carlos Fortuny House project by Jeroni Granell i Mundet

Presentation of Francisco Vilumara House project by Domingo Balet i Nadal

Presentation of Miguel Buixeda House project by Rafael Guastavino Moreno

A relevant fact to highlight about the aforementioned relationship is that years later Rafael Guastavino was guest of honor at the International Congress of Architecture that was held at the Chicago International Exposition of 1893 and his fame caused him to also be elected a member of the jury in the architecture section of the exhibition in which Domingo Balet would win a Gold medal and which we explain more extensively in the Exhibitions section of this website.

Final graduation project

The final graduation project was presented in 1868 and it was about a project for pigsties for a herd of 300 pigs.

Details; Deck armor; Stys Armor Knife. Measurements: 57 x 84cm Scale: 1:10

Half of the transverse elevation of the fence; Half of the longitudinal elevation of the infirmary; Cut given by the longitudinal axis of the porcelains; Cut according to the CD line of the plant; Cross-sectional elevation of the pigsties; House facade for the guardian. Measurements: 58 x 78 cm Stairs: 1:100

General plan and upper floor of the house of the guadia. Measurements: 59 x 85cm Stairs: 1:2000

Source: Archivo ETSAB

Final grade for graduation

Finally, Domingo Balet obtained the title of Master of Works in 1869 with an Outstanding "Sobresaliente" Excellent classification.

The School and subjects

These studies of Master Builders began in 1850 at the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi in the School of Noble Arts of La Lonja, due to a lack of Architects to meet the constructive demand of the time and the 1871.

The teaching of Master of works consisted of four years of training, and the following subjects were studied:

Professionals with this degree became extinct in the 1930s. In 1875 the School of Architecture of Barcelona was finally approved, which had already been installed in the Building of the University of Barcelona in the Eixample.

The Signature: 

Extracted from the original plans of the Pere Llibre House with his name in Spanish, which is Domingo. At the end you can read the abbreviations for "Master of Works".

Graphological study of the Domènec Balet i Nadal firm

By means of a recently carried out graphological study of its signature (which is an abbreviated biography of its author) and taking into account certain specific characteristics of its signature, the following can be distinguished:

The foregoing characteristics of this report are general, and are entirely based on what your personal stamp represents at the instant you wrote it. Many factors are subject to permanent change according to the course of life. To have a more complete report, it should be observed in conjunction with an accompanying text and by a specialist.

Source: grafologico.com 

Collecting and nature

Domènec Balet tells us that he had an extensive collection of architecture books, but he was also a big fan of collecting art and antiques such as porcelain, miniature jewelry, glass, paintings, engravings, sculptures and ivory (much appreciated). and exotics at the time).

On the other hand, the contemplation of nature and the agricultural exploitation were also one of his great hobbies that he carried out in his farms of fruit trees, fields of cereals and vegetables in Vallromanes.

Summer in Vallromanes

Domènec Balet bought several properties in Vallromanes (a town in the Valles Oriental) where he spent weekends and summer vacations. The Can Balet tower was his residence and the rest were used by the employees who worked the lands of the farm.

From left to the rigth: Stately Home of Can Balet; HouseFarm of Can Balet

Stately home of Can Balet

The Stately home of Can Balet, also adjacent to Can Senyor, is a historic building that is part of the Inventory of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia. On the coast there is the Can Balet farmhouse. It is believed that the tower will be designed by Domènec Balet, but at the moment there are no concrete data that can be confirmed. At the end of the year, parcels of the farm will be sold, reducing most of the land. Abans, the tower was surrounded by a large garden, gardens, fruit trees and fields; The Font del sot dels merles, a synia and a llac that faces is preserved.

Equity analysis:

The Tower of Can Balet stands on a vessant of the muntanya next to the Vallromanes stream. The new structure is composed of two pillars that are joined at a straight angle, with a polygonal tower in the center, finished with a pointed polygonal roof. The main entrance is located on the left side of the tower, and to the right there is a covered terrace. The architecture stands out on the great slope of the water towers, which contrasts the other buildings in the area.

Font: Wikipedia; book: Vallromanes noms de lloc i casa - d'Enric Garcia Pey

The farm House of Can Balet

Equity analysis:

Masia located in one of the vessants of the muntanya that donates to the Riera de Vallromanes, formed by two very different things: the habitation itself, with the carener perpendicular to the façana and teulada of dues vessants; and another thing attached to the right side, with the carener parallel to the rectangular façade.

At first, the main entrance is crossed with a fine street on each side and three on the upper floor, then with three small arches starting from the teulada. The segon cos is characterized by the six arcs of the segon pis (arcs of mig punt supported by pillars), and the seu sostre of bigues de whipta. The entire façade is stuccoed and the two sides form a common architectural sun.

It is included in the Inventory of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia. Along the coast is the Can Balet Tower.


Font: Wikipedia; book: Vallromanes noms de lloc i casa - d'Enric Garcia Pey

Can Poal Farmhouse

The Masía de Can Poal is one of the oldest buildings in Vallromanes dating from the second half of the 15th century.

Formerly the settlers lived who worked the lands of the farm and there was also a grocery store that was run by the Guardia family. Later, the heir to the Can Poal estate, Mr. Fernando Balet Benavent, sold a plot of the estate to Mr. Guardia, so that the Can Guardia store (Queviures Guardia) could be built.

In 2005 comprehensive reforms were carried out in the farmhouse.

Equity analysis:

It is a farmhouse located to the right of the parish church, which follows the typical structure of the Catalan rural house. The ridge is perpendicular to the façade, and the roof is double-sloped. The entire façade is made of stone, exposing the voussoirs of the semicircular arch portal and the stones that form the lintel and the jambs of the central window. The other two windows were later opened and are supported by a wooden lintel. The farmhouse is rectangular and retains the same structure from the back. Two buttresses located at the corners support the walls.

Location: Av. De Vilassar de Dalt

Member of the Ateneo Barcelones

Domingo Balet was a member of the Ateneo Barcelonés and was enrolled in the Fine Arts section. In the Membership Registry book it is stated that he was until 1902, but for unknown reasons there is no record of the date of entry or the date of withdrawal from the entity. Suppose that the fact of not having the registration date could be because it was already part of one of the two predecessor entities that merged: the Ateneu Català (1860 - 1872) or the Casino Mercantil Barcelonés.

As explained extensively in the "Exhibitions" section of this website, in 1877 the Ateneu announced the winners of a contest in its minutes, naming Domènec Balet as the winner in the Locksmith section for his project: Chandeliers and metal lighting candles for a gothic church; with the motto "Nova et Veritas".

The Barcelones Athenaeum is a highly prestigious association that currently has its headquarters in the Palau Savassona and its main objectives are to promote citizen cultural self-training, promote open, transversal and constructive dialogue with civil society, be a center for disseminating debates in the and a core of creation to promote collective intellectual activity.

Member of the Barcelona Economic Society of Friends of the Country

On June 29, 1876, the newspaper "La Imprenta" published an extensive article where, among other things, they named Domingo Balet as one of the new partners.

Amigos del País is a service organization for the progress of the country and the city. Its mission is to contribute to the definition of the main challenges of the country and, through debate and dialogue with different agents of our society, collaborate to make possible the achievement of new desired scenarios.

Member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Master Builders of Catalonia

Four years after his graduation, Domingo Balet was appointed Deputy of the Board of Directors of the Center for Master Builders of Catalonia. In the image you can see the original document published in 1874.

Sources: Newspaper "La Imprenta" of December 30, 1873; Historical Archive Barcelona; Archive of the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi

Acknowledgments

Gold medal in Chicago World's Fair 1893

Recreation on an original diploma

Barcelona City Council commemorative plaque - 1992 Cultural Olympics

The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games also featured a "cultural Olympics", an alternative event to sporting events, which included artistic and cultural activities that took place between 1988 and 1992.

This commemorative metal plaque with a very careful design is located on the right side of the façade of the Pere Llibre house (Obra de Domènec Balet). It reads:

* At this time we do not know why the plaque was awarded (we are investigating).

Donations

In 1894, Domingo Balet donated a Baptismal Font to the Church of Vallromanes that is preserved to this day. This font, circular in shape and built of marble, stands out for having two angels engraved on its surface, located on opposite sides, and between them, sculpted leaves. The pile is supported on an octagonal base that rises from the ground. On top of this base, there are two pieces of marble with eight concave faces, one of them being larger than the other.

Could it be one of the works of your reference sculptor Enric Clarasó?

Image from the documentary archive of the Church of Vallromanes

Origin of the Logo

Domingo Balet had three wooden bookcases in his office at Paseo de Gracia 20 (as far as we know, one of them is still owned by his family) and on its sides are inscribed the date 1888, which would have been the date of the Barcelona Universal Exposition where He participated as manager of the German pavilion. In addition, within a shield there is a compass that represents the guild of architects and a flower. All these elements have been a source of inspiration to create a logo that represents it.

Domènec Balet is News today (in Catalan & Spanish lenguage):

Domènec Balet and the Auto Garage Términus - Va passar aquí! Betevé

On December 30, 2021, Betevé made a report in its usual 5-minute format where the story of the legendary Auto Garage Términus dealership owned by the sons of Domènec Balet and Nadal is told, as well as a brief explanation of the Master Builder. Click here to watch the video.

We are news in El País! Thanks to journalist Jordi Corominas Julián for this fantastic article written on 12/05/2023 and for sharing links on our websites and Instagram!

Today 8/11/2021 the entity Ruta del Modernisme de Barcelona (which depends on Barcelona City Council) shares this publication on all its Social Networks about the Modernista house that bears the name of its Master of Works, the Casa Domènec Balet on Carrer Tallers 68 Bis and also refers to this website. Link

Bibliography of Domènec Balet:

New project!: 

The biographical book of Domènec Balet i Nadal 

Tourist guide:

The Barcelona History Museum's "Orient in Barcelona" Tourist Guide offers a unique itinerary through the most exotic buildings in the city. Among them are the Pere Llibre House and the Alhambra Building, both designed by Domingo Balet Nadal and indicated in points 3 and 5 of the guide. To download it, you can access the following link:

guiaorientbcn.318_0.pdf

Download the complete 2 page guide in PDF format.