Category Archives: arquitectura singular

Corpus Christi church. Granada

project report

The temple is part of a group of buildings resulting from the restructuring of the Corpus Christi Hospital, which was installed there in the 16th century to provide attention and aid to soldiers.

The inside of the church consists of three naves with a Latin-cross floor plan. The wings have quarter-sphere domes and the transept has a hemispherical cupola. The church bears abundant baroque ornamentation, especially in the transept’s cupola. The domes are decorated with canvases with portraits of Augustinian saints and martyrs, some form the Order’s former convent. Eight of these were painted by Bocanegra for that convent’s inauguration ceremony.

This small temple adjusts to the irregularities of its trapezoidal floor plan through the set of domes in its Latin cross, achieving an extraordinary spatial effect thanks to the stunning verticality of its central area. And that effect is strengthened by the transition in just a few meters from a compressed entry beneath the choir loft to the decompression of the space in successive overlapping domes.

This, then, is an architectural structure of considerable complexity, in keeping with its time and the cultural movement that generated it: the Baroque.

Because of the peculiar characteristics of its space, light is the foremost element in this temple, an instrument that makes the space a setting for the celebration of the liturgy. The architecture, far from being just one more part of the infinite space governed by geometry, is made concrete and singular through a visual language that unfolds formally through the combination of light and shadow, making it a part of the ingenious play of moving spaces. Light and shadow are paired in their involvement with form through refined reliefs, the rhythm of the dome’s volumes and the play between nuances and abrupt changes that make ornamentation the essence of spatial definition.

Angela showroom. Granada

project report

This renovation took place in a characteristic building in the historical center of Granada, near the cathedral, at the head of the block facing Zacatín and Estribo Streets. The building is cataloged as part of the city center’s special plan.

In this place, located on a traditional shopping street, we have generated a space that not only retains its use, but also seeks to enrich the street’s pedestrian area. The criteria used to carry out the operation derive from an understanding of the area, a desire for visual continuity and respect for existing elements in the building’s structure and in the urban fabric.

The stairs beside the elevator are considered an important part of the store’s scenography. They are in a previously existing case of very small dimensions and constitute vertical access to the four floors. Slightly spiral, they seem to float at a distance of 5 cm from the white walls, letting the light pass through. This piece was made with 3mm Owatrol-treated sheet steel soldered to a structure previously set into the perimeter walls. The elevator beside them is converted into a lamp of enormous dimensions that reinforces the overall verticality and brings diffused lighting to the space through its translucent walls.

The shop windows are panes installed without frames, flush with the existing projections on the stone pillars and held from the inside by individual matte stainless-steel blocks. A folded white sheet-metal element runs the length of the shop window, reinforced from behind with brackets screwed to runners on the floor or walls. This exercise in origami is a display for handbags and shoes, which are held onto it by magnets where necessary.

Top Shops. Barcelona 2006
Frame nº41. Amsterdam 2004
R&R Restauración y Rehabilitación nº 88. Valencia 2004
Periódico de arquitectura nº8-9. Granada 2005
Elisa Valero 1998-2008′. Valencia 2009

hangar for graphic arts. Granada

project report

The construction uses a metal-pillar structure to which is anchored an exterior roof of 12 cm prefabricated concrete plaques, and beams with galvanized sheet-steel panel walls with commercial moldings and a 40 kg/m3 polyurethane core, making a total thickness of 50 mm. Intermediate floors are of alveolar plaques. Use of prefabricated materials speeds building and facilitates control of finishing.

Special care has been taken to insulate the hangar. A free-standing lining with a vapor barrier is installed in the areas where there are ground-floor panel walls. 5 cm of polyurethane foam thermal isolation is previously projected and the airspace is used to pass conduits for electricity, telephones and plumbing. On the upper floor, the lining is direct, including thermal insulation and a vapor barrier. The flooring is continuous polished concrete finished in grey quartz over a slab with a monolithic surface.

Because of the sort of work to be done there, natural light had to be very carefully controlled. It could not shine directly into the machine room as a floor-level horizontal lighting was produced, with a translucent glass opening facing the back patio. In the offices, slit windows open over the intermediate flooring allowing a view of the sky.

‘Elisa Valero 1998-2008’. Valencia 2009

basilica of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias. Granada

project report

The Basilica of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias is a temple with a Jesuit floorplan consisting of a central nave with four chapels on each side and a dome of the Tuscan order, completely painted with ornamental arabesques on a white background. The church was completed in 1671 under the direction of master Juan Luis Ortega.

The nave was originally lit with a diffused and homogenous light from windows at the base of the dome, and light that shines from the cupola directly onto the altarpiece. With the advent of electric light and its installation in the Basilica some eighty years ago, natural light lost its importance and some of the windows were closed off. The natural lighting inside the church was further reduced when a brick wall was built in front of the windows and covered, on the top, but a horizontal polycarbonate, which forced the light to pass through a winding anteroom before entering the main nave.

These interventions that ruined the natural lighting were accompanied by others of greater import: those that ruined the shadows. This disaster came when countless light bulbs began illuminating the church’s least relevant areas, breaking the spell and destroying the coherence of the natural light.

The restoration of the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias has thus been mostly a restoration of the light. It was necessary to unblock access to natural light, which was easy in some instances and quite complex in others; to deal with the reduction of reflected light due to the considerable darkening of walls and altarpieces, and to properly adapt the installations of artificial light. From a spatial perspective, other problems, such as the elimination of humidity in the walls, while undoubtedly necessary, are not comparable to the question of lighting. The natural light from the dome windows has been recovered, eliminating the screens that blocked them and replacing the stained glass with white glass like the original in order to properly illuminate the profusely colored decoration.

In this case, the challenge of the intervention was to recover the building’s original baroque lighting which, as in so many other cases, had been ruined by time and abandonment.

Periódico de arquitectura nº8-9, Granada 2005
R&R nº105, Valencia, noviembre 2007
Arquitectura ibérica Rehabilitaçao nº19, 2007

Camaura restaurant. Granada

project report

This work was originally proposed as the renovation of a former cowshed in Granada’s fertile valley. A broad, fertile territory marked by the presence of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the south. The poor structural conditions and construction of the previous building, parts of which were in ruins, called for new construction with the same volume, as required by zoning regulations. Two singular rooms, the stable and granary, linked by a passage became the restaurant and café. The long passageway joining them houses all of the service elements.

The goal was to achieve a good relation with the landscape from the main building and to construct it with a minimum budget. In terms of construction, the most interesting element may be the solution of the glass façade on the front, whose doors can be folded back into the structure, a set of U 240 to which the doors are directly hinged.

Manantiales restaurant in Xochimilco. Mexico

project report

This intervention, carried out in 1996, consisted of rehabilitating a singular example of architect Félix Candela’s work in Mexico, built in Xocimilco in 1957. It is a shell with an octagonal floor plan formed by the intersection of four hypars whose formwork is based on two systems with straight generators. As much as it is made up of non-developable surfaces, it offers considerable rigidity with minimal thickness.

Arquitectura Viva nº58. Madrid. 1998