Category Archives: arquitectura singular

exhibition Concrete Work. San Sebastián

project report

Since the beginning and throughout this twenty years, my architecture studio has been a space for reflection and action that’s born from the “tireless hope” of a better future. In this exhibition, we show one of the experimentation fields that I’ve worked on, the reinforced concrete.”

This research work started in 1996 with the restoration of Manantiales (Natural springs), the most symbolic work of Félix Candela. Like that, a new path was started in Mexico, the path of attention to the design of the structure as a key factor in the formalisation of the architecture, and to the possibilities of the industry in the development of new materials in favor of rationality and the economy of means. There is also the actual worry about the environment and sustainability. To reduce the consume of material and energy is not just an economic advantage but an ethic need of every citizen of this Planet.

This is just the beginning of an investigation path with ongoing projects. We’ll keep working with the conviction of a more human architecture, an architecture reachable for everyone that will lead us to a fairer society.

Refurbishment of Exhibition Hall in the former Santo Domingo Convent. Huéscar

project report

This work is based on an initial project by Antonio Jiménez Torrecillas.

Three years after the arrival of the Dominicans to Huéscar 1544, they built their convent on the plot.

The convent complex had to be traced according to the models then in force for that class of buildings: a quadrangular organism with four wings around a central cloister and laterally attached church. Only one part was built.

The intervention is carried out in one of the original wings with wood paneling, later reinforced to be used as a wheat store and in the annexed ship that was demolished. The intervention respects to the maximum the existing one and it tries to make a recovery of the space and adaptation to exhibition room of low cost. There is a new staircase leading to the upper floor. The slab, which had sunk, has been replaced with a ripple on the underside that acoustically works very well. Carpentry is reused by filtering the light with alabaster. 

church in Playa Granada. Granada

project report

On the tropical coast, south of Sierra Nevada, and very close to the sea, rises a slender tower that indicates the presence of a new church. It is a simple piece of concrete, close and accessible, set among the trees of an open garden.

The challenge of building a space for the encounter that refers to transcendence is such, that it was chosen not to try to do anything new, but to refer to the tradition of the first Christian temples.  An attempt to emulate those who have already achieved the skillful use of natural light and textures of materials, unity between the whole and the parts, and precision in the details, to achieve a coherent, silent and strong space.

The architecture is, therefore, placed at the service of the liturgy, integrating the elements that form the whole. Atrium of access, baptistery with octagonal pile at the entrance, crypt, presbytery, belfry and choir. And the text is inserted in a certain context, the set of conditions of this work: the topography, with a gap that allows access to the nave from the garden to the west, and from the east to the crypt that works as base, the high water level that has determined the ground level of the building. The urbanistic regulations, which required, except for the bell tower, not to exceed the height of 8 meters of single-family two story dwellings in the area. The aggressive environment for the steel that the proximity of the sea implies. The importance of acoustics for the correct functioning of the building.

These conditions have been the rules of the game, which have been leading to the final result, eliminating everything arbitrary.

Light is the raw material with which has been worked. Through it, the idea that God is the light of the world, the idea of one God and three people, is being materialized. In the temple there are three entrances of light. The first is a hidden skylight facing east, where the sun rises, symbolizing the resurrection of Christ and illuminating the altar indirectly but clearly. Second is on the west, over the choir, where some perforations in the concrete allow that during sunset on the altar is projected light in the form of a cross, and a third on the south side, through the latticework open to the garden on the nave of the faithful. A single light illuminates the church in three different ways.

Finally,  the construction can be mentioned, which is essentially done in concrete. The vertical structure is made of double-sided reinforced walls, the horizontal, foundations and slabs use a new system “ELESDOPA”, a double-walled structural element that manages to optimize structurally the operation of the concrete, that remains visible on both faces, and reaches a high level of thermal insulation. On the cover of the main nave, this slab of variable thickness avoids the parallelism between the floor and the ceiling that acoustically is not suitable. This system also allows to leave out other finishes in most cases, so both the construction is very economical 480 € / m2 built and maintenance is practically nil.

Concrete, artificial stone of our time, also has a symbolic value. The nakedness of this contemporary stone speaks of constructive sincerity and sobriety. Timeless values ​​that lead to purification of the architecture from ornament and allow only light to affect the spaces.

sandunga gallery. Granada

project report

Imperfect architecture, fragments of recycled cities, interventions that take on their own conditions and are transformed into opportunities for experimentation with new materials and new ways to build, inhabit or see the world. Spaces with concrete and diverse uses that adapt to existing ones in new ways. Architectural solutions for real and complex problems that follow the rules unerringly. Building only the indispensable, demolishing only the indispensable. Thus, this gallery of contemporary art on an irregular site at the plaza del Prof Fontboté in Granada becomes a space for contemporary art, with large exhibition panels behind a sheet of glass and a steel box that shifts the entrance. Nothing more. A small work, because it was done in the shortest possible time with the smallest possible budget, but a deeply thought-out work. It meets the conditions of sustainability and creativity demanded by this century that has to coexist with its heritage, whether or not it its value is recognized. Recycling architecture is much more than restoration or renovation; it is accepting what is given and transforming it without renouncing the essential values of architecture, renouncing neither light nor shadow, nor silence. And never renouncing the pursuit of the difficult indivisibility of precision.

For this project, we have designed a system of walls with wooden wheels that allow the gallery to be transformed according to the needs of each exhibition. The wheels have brakes to avoid unwanted movement.

The lighting consists only of florescent tubes beneath the installations. Nothing more, but to shape the gallery as the artist desires.

new space for the Arango house. Madrid

project report

A Crossed Garden.

Sharpening one’s gaze, discovering the beauty behind everyday events, being able to capture it and make it one’s own, allowing it to change one; that is the Gordian knot of the creative process, and this work is constructed in a context that is especially appropriate for it. Located on an estate near the mountains of El Escorial, the intervention responds to the need to join two houses that constitute a single living space whose peculiarity is the present of significant works of art.

Thus, the project is conceived as a container that makes it possible to live with the paintings and sculptures of a unique collection through which we discover the singular gaze of Plácido Arango.

Unlike a museum—a place for admiring and encountering art from time to time—this project faces the challenge of creating a living space in which light and the relation with nature are particularly important. Deep inside a bit of garden with oak and cork trees, a new connection is established between the two houses it separates. The first house has a large reception hall, while the second has the more private rooms, library and bedrooms. The union takes the form of rooms buried like tubers, whose shapes are adapted to avoid interfering with tree roots than cannot be damaged.

With the freedom of someone unconcerned with appearances (the project does not emerge, it does not appear above ground) the walls bend, happily and uninhibitedly accepting simplicity as a synonym of precision, a simplicity that dissolves the complexity that is inherent in architecture.

Publications
CASABELLA nº 780. Milan 2009
Detail 2009 7/8. München 2009
Detail 2009 5. München 2009
ON Diseño nº 303. Barcelona 2009
Mark nº20. Amsterdam 2009
R&R Restauración y Rehabilitación nº111. Valencia 2009
AV monografías nº140. Madrid 2009
‘Elisa Valero 1998-2008’. Valencia 2009

dental clinic. Granada

project report

In a place in the popular Granada neighborhood of La Chana, this dental clinic was designed as a set of glass boxes containing boothes insulated from noise, separating the public zone adjoining the façade from the interior work areas. A set of engraved vinyls designed by the Limón Marketing Agency insure that each booth has a view of the trees on the avenue.

The fact that this is a rented space required the intervention to be rapid and economical. The strong materials, polyurethane resin for the floor with a seamless finish, glass and carpentry of white-lacquered DM.

Publications
H2O. Valencia 2009

parish church of San Ildefonso. Granada

project report

In the shadow of a hundred-year-old grape trellis.

The parish church of San Ildefonso was built outside the city walls in 1501, near the Rabadasif mosque and alongside the well of the same name, which remained next to it. The church has a basilica floor plan with a single nave adjoined by lateral chapels. The head of the church has a square floor plan and connects to the sacristy and to the houses of the rector and sexton.

The project consisted of habilitating these poorly constructed annexes, which had suffered numerous clumsy partial interventions to provide the necessary offices and conference rooms. The arch of a former access door closed in the 15th century was found in the church wall and made visible. The intervention was carried out with a very tight budget, using glass partitions to allow light to pass through to the corridor. The floors are of polished and tinted concrete and the carpentry is of white-lacquered wood.

Access to these buildings of domestic character is through an irregular patio covered by a hundred-year-old grape trellis offering shade and shelter. This wise plant-based architecture adds character to the setting. One person told me that in the 1930s, when she was a child, she came to San Ildefonso for her brother’s baptism and her only memory is of the patio with its grape trellis. Mediterranean architecture could be defined as the creation of adequate shade. Controlling light calls for the construction of shadows, which is what we can actually modify. Shadows are the Indian ink architects use to draw the subtle lines of classical orders in Greek temples, what nomads use to define the limits of their tents, or what the Abaycin’s patios use to defend themselves from the midday sun.

Publications
H2O. Valencia 2009

polyvalent social center in Lancha del Genil. Granada

project report

Southeast of the city, where building is sparser in contact with the last foothills of the Sierra Nevada, is the neighborhood of Lancha del Genil. That is where this Polyvalent Social Center is situated. It provides a shared space for the development of neighborhood life, a place for activities to meet, a hybrid between indoors and out, an ambiguous space in which lines of force cross and emptiness takes on its own value.

In that sense, this work is not conceived as a building, but as a knot, both in its program—it is the quintessential space for meeting—and in its manner of tying in the space in order to articulate two topographic levels and two differing situations. The trapezoidal building site is on a hillside near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima. It has a southward drop of 5 meters. The project is on the edge where mountain and city meet and it resolves this by adapting itself to the topography to resolve the design in a straightforward, flexible and rational way. The building’s layout follows the perimeter like a retaining wall in order to minimize its presence on the upper floor, so that the public space, an observation gallery, plays the leading role in the urban scene.

The program is clearly differentiated in two parts, articulating the terrain’s drop as separate floors with independent access from the higher and lower streets, respectively. Both levels are linked inside by a running stairway and an elevator, but each can function independently and with different opening hours. The south façade opens onto a street with two-story single-family homes and has an urban character. The lower floor has two larger multiuse spaces and three offices in which the sun is easily controlled by high, narrow openings in the stone wall. On the upper floor, the offices open onto a garden, protected to the west by vertical slats. At the top of the building, the main hall opens to the mountain range with a single opening through which, after moving through the building, we rediscover how it fits into its surroundings.

Publications
IX Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo. Madrid 2007
Periódico de Arquitectura nº12. Granada 2008
ARV Revista de arquitectura nº 06. Almería 2007
Infodomus, construcción sostenible y edificios inteligentes. Madrid 2007
Volumenes nº42. Granada 2009
‘Elisa Valero 1998-2008’. Valencia 2009

ogáyar pharmacy. Granada

project report

The intervention in the Ogáyar Pharmacy combines the search for a clean, aseptic laboratory appearance with an effort to showcase products on light shelves in order to catch the clients’ eye.

The proposed design included furnishing that orders movement within the pharmacy while meeting the functional needs involved in exhibiting and selling products.

Stainless steel and translucent glass are combined with a white background that make the pharmaceutical products the focal point in a successful alliance of design and marketing.

Publications
H2O. Valencia 2009