21 Dwellings in an Old Diary, Santiago de Compostela
Juan Manuel Vargas  Víctor López Cotelo 

21 Dwellings in an Old Diary, Santiago de Compostela

Juan Manuel Vargas  Víctor López Cotelo 


In today’s cities it often happens that terrains which are particularly attractive due to their proximity to the center and their topographic features have remained outside the urbanization process, presently offering fantastic possibilities for reinterpretation. In Carme de Abaixo, a plot just a few minutes away from the Plaza del Obradoiro and occupied by an old dairy was to be rehabilitated to fit 21 dwellings.

The urban plan established alignments parallel to the river Sarela and to the only street there, aside from determining the need to preserve the wall structure, the facade windows and the roofs. However, it was preserving the stone walls cut out against the hillside that determined the origin of a project governed by the connection between construction and topography, where the organic and the geometric are combined to create a sense of neighborhood there where the city blends with the rural fields.

The main volume of the old dairy emerges above the long wall that runs alongside the river. As an example of a simple and sturdy architecture, the building has been subdivided to house five triplex apartments that rest the service areas on the load-bearing walls and provide an interior presided by the views of the river. The fourth floor, which houses two dwellings, is accessed from an intermediate level and from the rear, through a bridge that links the building with one of the various levels in which the hillside has been defined. Singular because of its hipped tile roof and its central situation, the resulting building constitutes the point of reference for the rest of the program.

Two buildings flank the old dairy like balconies. The north volume – that shares with the latter its position on the wall – contemplates the river from a large gallery formed by living areas, while the three bridge-houses take up the access from the hillside. The other new building, to the south, adapts to the slope at four levels. The first forms a stone-clad plinth upon which the intermediate facade rises; in the second one, the predominance of glass accentuates the desire to link the access level with the exterior; finally, the upper levels look onto the street with a white parging facade and traditional windows, in harmony with the nearby houses. Another old rural building renovated to house two dwellings rounds off the intervention, breaking the wall that delimits the complex and giving way to a lively sequence of exterior landscaped areas...[+]


Cliente Client
Construcciones Otero Pombo

Arquitectos Architects
Víctor López Cotelo, Juan Manuel Vargas 

Colaboradores Collaborators
Ana I. Torres, Jesús Placencia, Isabel Mira, Álvaro Guerrero, Pedro Morales, Juan Pinto (arquitectos architects); José Antonio Valdés, Rafael Pazos (aparejadores quantity surveyors); José Pascual Izquierdo (delineación delineación); Juan Uríbarri Sánchez-Marco (maqueta model

Consultores Consultants
José María Fernández (estructura structure

Contratista Contractor
Construcciones Otero Pombo

Fotos Photos
Lluís Casals