Barrioalto

Set in the densely-populated and charming upper town, the new hotel complex in Castuera blends in perfectly with the scenery, looking more like part of the town than a compact block standing on the land. Due to the small size of the upper town and its position overlooking the open Extremadura countryside, the complex is designed as a group of buildings, the result of fragmentation, like a broken stone. The original element is taken, cut and emptied out, creating small public squares; each element relates to this empty space, adapting to the considerable differences in height of the land, through a vertical connecting element that raises the structure and marks the new open space which sets the tone for the project; the building fits in perfectly with the dimension of the location, creating welcoming, open, public spaces, similar to urban spaces, “a town within a town”. The fact that the complex can easily be seen from Castuera and enjoys a privileged position on the horizon of the Sierra, gives great iconic value to the project; it is almost as if the group of buildings has always been there, like massive containing walls. As time passes and the strong winds typical of this region erode the stone, holes begin to appear in the huge opaque vertical walls, creating a natural transparency; a “perforated materialness” which gives the complex its original look and makes it a unique architectural beacon perched on top of the town.

project team: Alessandro Tessari, Matteo Bandiera, Samuele Evolvi, Nicola Di Pietro, German Pro Lozano, Filippo Pesce
project: Tourists Complex. Castuera, Spain
status: International Competition. Third Prize
date: 2009.05
client: Regional Government of Extremadura