The frontispiece that will complete the cathedral's main façade, as designed by Antonio Ramos in the 18th century. SUR
This is how the diocese plans to finish the façade of Malaga Cathedral

This is how the diocese plans to finish the façade of Malaga Cathedral

Cultural Heritage ·

The diocese has presented the regional ministry of culture with a project to complete the façade as it was designed by the architect Antonio Ramos in 1784

Jesús Hinojosa

Tuesday, 7 May 2024, 10:31


Now that work has begun on the gable roof, aimed at solving the leak problems that Malaga Cathedral has had for decades, the diocese is also preparing to finish the roof's perimeter as it was designed in the plans left by its last Baroque architect, Antonio Ramos. Work on the building was halted on 5 July 1782 but Ramos left a detailed drawing of the complete cathedral in documents that the diocese has taken as reference for this project, at least as far as the roof is concerned.

This includes building the stone balustrade topped by pinnacles that was left to crown the edge of the roof. This was originally set to be completed once the gable roof - planned by Ventura Rodríguez - had been built, but this was never constructed. The project also involves finishing the church's main façade on the side of Plaza del Obispo.

If we observe the plans drafted by Antonio Ramos in 1784, we see that the main façade was left half-finished. Consequently, the diocese has proposed a project to the regional ministry of culture that involves its completion as it was designed by the cathedral's last architect.

A view of the half-finished façade of Malaga Cathedral.
A view of the half-finished façade of Malaga Cathedral. Salvador Salas

The current architect, Juan Manuel Sánchez La Chica, in collaboration with fellow architect Adolfo de la Torre Prieto, has designed the completion of this façade based on Ramos' plans, as a way of taking the baton from his predecessor. According to the sources, to the surprise of the cathedral's current technicians, the angle formed by the parapet (designed by Antonio Ramos) coincides with the slope of the roof (planned by Ventura Rodríguez in 1764). In other words, everything was carefully planned to complete the cathedral that was in the end left unfinished; now that planned work is being resumed.

The continuation of work on the cathedral has been one of bishop Jesús Catalá's wishes ever since his arrival into the diocese in 2008. He has, on several occasions, proudly recalled that the diocese had, many years ago, completed part of the balustrade that was missing from the main façade. Now, with its completion, which is awaiting authorisation by the regional ministry of culture, along with the new roof project already under way, his wishes will be fulfilled.

In Ramos' plans, the top of the façade features a statue of Jesus Christ, as well as St Andrew, St Peter, St Paul and St James on the pedestals below. For the time being, the the execution of these figures is not included in the proposed project, but the diocese would like for them to be made in the future in order to fully complete the design of Malaga Cathedral's main façade, as it was drawn in the 18th century.

While awaiting permission from the regional ministry of culture to resume construction of the façade and thus to complete the roof project, works on this long-awaited scheme have already begun. In fact, the group formed by the construction companies Hermanos Campano and Grupo ORP, has started demolishing of the 'brick skin' applied to the vaults' exterior in 2009, which proved to be unsuccessful. Layers of bricks will be removed and the lead sheets that were installed to protect the building from rainwater will be left in place.

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