Portland cement factories were built in most industrialised countries in Europe during the late 19th century and the early 20th century, but few were as spectacular as that at Castellar de n’Hug about 90 km north of Barcelona.
The works was opened in 1904 by the Companyia General d’Asfalts i Portland, SA, formed in 1901 by the entrepreneur Eusebi Guell and partners. It is built in the Catalan Modernist style in a series of steps on a hillside that enables materials to go from one process to another by gravity. The building was designed by the Catalan architect Rafael Guastavino, who spent much of his career in the United States.
The factory closed in the 1970s, but has been adapted as a museum illustrating the manufacture of Portland cement, that is a branch of the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (MNACTEC) and is part of its Territorial System of 26 museums that explain industrialisation in Catalonia.