The Tabakalera building was a tobacco factory for 90 years (1913-2003). It was a state owned factory, built on municipal land after 25 years of complex building works.
The 20s, when the cigarette and cigar production was mechanized, was the golden period for Tabakalera. In 1925, more than one thousand people worked there, mostly women.
During the second half of the 60s, the factory underwent another technological updating and the production reached 250 million packets a year. During that period, it stopped producing Farias cigars in order to specialize in cigarettes: first, Celtas and later, from the 60s on, Ducados and Davidoff.
After the running of tobacco in Spain was privatized, the new company named Altadis closed eight of its factories, among them the one of San Sebastian, in 2003. One year later, the City Council of San Sebastian, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Basque Government bought the building in order to turn it into an international contemporary culture centre.
Tabakalera is a peculiar building due to its nature and dimensions.
It is one of the biggest plots in the urban area of Donostia-San Sebastian: The main building is a rectangle of 113x75 m, with a net floor area of 21,000 m2 and a gross floor area of 26,000 m2.
The tobacco factory was built in the style of the former factories, around four big yards.
Tabakalera was a factory and the new a cultural centre still preserves its industrial nature.