Carmena, Toledo (Spain)

Solariega House Rehabilitation

Historically, ancestral homes are the properties that have fostered the coexistence and represented the families that owned them. Regardless of their location, grandeur, time, and site, all of them have borne the sign’s names, heraldry, or aesthetic tastes of their tenants. The house reflected the family character, and, in a certain way, it took a representative role. This house in Carmena, a small town 40 kilometres from Toledo, is no exception.

The refurbishment project takes as a point of departure the challenge of transforming an existing architecture, but also essentially that of critically recovering the ‘good customs’ of the past, blending them with the contemporary ways of life. The design proposed, therefore, rejects the need for historical legibility in interventions of the heritage associated with the Athens Charter as an absolute value, mainly when this intervention affects the activity of users or forces them to undertake a structural cleansing that takes away the warmth that, for many, a house must have. Consequently, the importance that textures, finishes, and details have in achieving well-being is preserved and reinterpreted with a critical and open gaze. This confidence in tradition has allowed us to place wicker-type doors in the storage areas, to have modern and safe electrical wired braided over exposed frames, making its replacement and repair easier, or to assemble particular by hand pieces to introduce vegetal images. Old materials allow for building new structures with greater span and capacity, whereas current ones are braided to evoke ancestral woodwork and carving. Moreover, almost all cases, the material used comes from demolitions, turning time into an excellent ally.

The house is organised around an open courtyard accessed after crossing a gate made from reused pieces of wood and metal. The courtyard floor is tiled and presided by a pool. Above it, the ceramic wall represents an abstract version of a Monet poppy field painting. In the rear part of the courtyard, a sauna is topped by three large windows protected by a canopy that moderates the entrance of sunlight in summer and lets it pass in winter. Inside the house of two floors, the lower one concentrates on the public program, while the upper one, currently under construction, will accommodate the bedrooms and more private spaces.

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