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The old Coll Portabella house, located on the current Avenida Diagonal 508-510, was ordered to be built by Ignasi Coll Portabella, and is another of the different buildings belonging to the Coll Portabella family that Barcelona had.

It was built on a site adjacent to the garden of the Pérez Samanillo Palace (current Equestrian Circle), located between Balmes and Tuset streets.

Ignasi Coll was born on August 16, 1856 in the city of Seville, he was the son of a Catalan family that at that time was in the Andalusian city for work reasons. As a child, his parents returned to Barcelona and Ignasi studied in our city, becoming one of the hundred most important businessmen in Spain in the 20th century.

Following in the footsteps of his father, a textile manufacturer, he created the Coll Hermanos wool cloth factory in 1893 with his brother Pascual. But, despite the success of his company, he did not stop fighting until he managed to become a partner in different important businesses.

The diversification of companies in 1903 made him a partner of Juan Musolas within his La Bohemia beer company, of which he became president. A position that led him, along with other breweries of the time, to create the current Damm Joint Stock Company in 1910, a presidency that he held until his death on August 24, 1943.

But those were not the only positions he held. During his 87 years of life he was a leader, either as president or holding different management positions, of the Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona, ​​Banca Arnús, Banco Hispano Colonial, Compañía de Electricidad y Gas Lebon and vice president of Ferrocarriles del Norte de España. He is the CEO of the Bank of Spain, La Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima, the Tobacco Company of the Philippines, Seguros La Equitativa and the multinational CAMPSA.

The original building of the Coll Portabella house, built in 1914, consisted of a ground floor and four floors (height then permitted by the town hall).

The façade presented on the left side on the ground floor four straight windows with columns on the sides below which four small holes with semicircular finishes appeared built to illuminate the basements of the building; On the right side an entrance door with a semicircular arch gave entrance to the staircase hall.

Four upper floors followed with different figures in all of them, both at the ends and in the central part. The main floor had two curved glazed viewing points in which four stone columns stood out and in the center there were three exits to the street with a continuous stone railing.

On the upper floor it continued with the rounded balconies at the ends that had a rounded shape so that the floor followed the shape of the roof of the lower floor, in the center three straight central balconies with individual wrought iron railings.

On the third floor the rounded balconies at the ends continued and the three central balconies with wrought iron railings remained straight.

On the fourth floor the façade underwent a complete change of shape. The exterior balconies became straight and in the center the three straight central balconies became a rounded balcony at each exit of the five exit doors that stood out over the other floors.

The original enclosure had two domes at the ends that offered a covering with small pieces of ceramic (the famous trancadís), then so fashionable at the top of the buildings that they gave off sparkles when illuminated by its solar rays, completing at the ends. The domes were guarded by two columns on the sides.

The façade ended with a straight stone railing that protected the two domes on the front, said railing in front of the two domes had a much more elaborate shape.

The still pristine building was the protagonist at the end of the civil war military parade held on Tuesday, February 21, 1939, in honor of General Franco.

Franco entered Barcelona with an open car with General Chief of the Northern Army, Fidel Dávila and when he reached the intersection with Balmes he got out of the car and went up to one of the balconies on the main floor and from that place, arm raised, he witnessed the rest of the parade carried out by the troops of the companies of regulars, legionnaires who paraded in his honor.

La Vanguardia, the next day with the double heading of La Vanguardia Española, exclusively published a photographic report by Pérez de Rozas and on the cover published the speech given by Franco the night before.

Later, with the authorization of the municipal government, the building was decapitated, suffering the loss of the two domes and the stone railing. And a comeback was made. A price that many buildings had to pay, losing their old artistic enclosure in exchange for increasing their capacity and the income of their owners at the cost of losing part of their beauty.

Both owners and builders found in José María de Porcioles the ideal mayor who, with his great permissiveness, ensured that today we Barcelonans cannot enjoy constructions that the architects had made so that they would be admired by the citizens.

But those were not the only urban damage that the building suffered, since over time the ground floor was destroyed to build the Bowling Alley, a new entertainment that in the 50s caused a somewhat excessive hobby. Later, after the bowling fever had passed, the bowling alley became the new Boliche cinema, but that is another story.