Enjoy a coffee and something sweet in the same place where everything happened for decades: bagel, gossip, new dishes that would become classics. If the pandemic allows it, in 2022 the emblematic Confitería del Molino in front of the Congress, while the rest of the building continues to be renovated.
“The pandemic delayed at least one year the planned implementation periods, but we hope to finish restoring the confectionery by the end of the year, to start the concession in 2022 ”, says Ricardo Angelucci, administrative technical secretary of the Bicameral Administrative Commission of the Mill Building, which is in charge of the work.
Despite the brake imposed by the health situation, work has picked up a good pace in recent months. The integral work is advanced and it is now possible to see the façade without scaffolding, the illuminated tower-dome, the blades of the mill turning from time to time.
Restoration of the Mill Confectionery: now work is done on the floors.
“Our priority in this first stage is to be able to complete and concession the confectionery,” says Angelucci. The rest of the building, which are around 5,000 square meters more, has another degree of progress and we do not yet have an exact date of completion of the work “.
Of course, the pandemic can put the tail back in and delay the objective. But, for now, intensive work has been done on the confectionery, located on the ground floor. Bronzes, walls, ceilings, beams, lights and floors: everything is under restoration.
The recovery of the rest of the building does not yet have a work completion date.
Equity recovery is also in the intangible: in this case the historical menu of the Mill, whose recipes are reconstructed by archaeologists to put together the new menu.
X-ray of a transformation
To start renovating the confectionery, first the entire surface was scanned in 3D: this way it was possible to know the state of the floor, map the pieces and see what problems each one has. After they were made structural searches, to know where to reinforce the structure or restore it.
The floors are rebuilt with original pieces recovered by archaeologists.
Once the above was resolved, the restoration itself started. The floor, mostly marble, is work. To reconstitute it, original pieces recovered by archaeologists are used, but in other cases there is no choice but to resort to purchased plates. Of course: original simile and from old marble shops.
In the ceilings There is also progress: a pilot restoration test has already been carried out, the elements that could fall were removed, and those that were missing began to be replaced and consolidated with artisanal plasterwork techniques.
Homework on the ceilings of the Mill’s Confectionery.
On the marquee de la ochava has already begun the renovation: 40 of the 160 square meters of stained glass in that corner sector. For that, part of the commission’s team of restorers set up a workshop on the fourth floor. There they clean, re-caulk, reinforce and replace the leads of these delicate glasses.
It is hard work: they are 56 stained glass panels and 94 guards. In addition, there are the two ciboriums, which are missing two pieces, and the two lamps in that sector, in poor condition. Once all of that is restored, a laminated glass protection will be placed on top of the canopy.
The restoration work on the stained glass windows in the marquee is arduous.
It’s even renewing itself the very structure of that canopy. Astillero Río Santiago, a shipbuilding company of the Buenos Aires Ministry of Production, restores the beams, corbels and the frame to support the stained glass windows, which have metallic ornamentation.
Up and down the confectionery is also worked. Is that the 2014 law that approved the expropriation of the building establishes that a site museum and a cultural center in the fourth and fifth floor apartments. There today the walls and ceilings, the plaster moldings, the wood carpentry and the stained glass windows are renewed.
They also have to rebuild the canopy guards.
The rooftop premises, the historic kitchen and the annex room on the first floor are even finishing being restored, where original ceilings were discovered under interventions.
What has already been done
In recent months, notable progress has been made in Mill Building. Finished restoring the rooftop and the dome tower, where eight stained glass segments were placed and backlit. The scaffolding covering the facade was dismantled. And the last details are being given to the window tiles, delicate and colorful pieces made of glass.
The restoration of the Confitería del Molino will be completed by the end of the year.
On the facade The stone-like walls were cleaned through a process called fogging. Parts were also replaced and the most important balcony on the fifth floor over Callao was structurally reinforced. Now the structural verification of the rest of the balconies is being carried out.
It even finished renovating the ground floor facadeincluding bronze ornaments, roller shades, stone cladding, and stained glass. At the end of the year the mill mechanism was repaired and the blades turned again. The ballrooms on the first floor, meanwhile, are almost ready, except for the floors.
The facade and the blades of the Mill Building have already been recovered. Photo Emmanuel Fernández
All the restoration is supervised by the Bicameral Administrative Commission of the Mill Building, which was created after the transfer of the property to the National Congress and coordinates the project. A titanic work that started in the third quarter of 2018 and advances inside and out.