Historically, ancestral homes are the properties that have fostered the coexistence and represented the families that owned them. Regardless of their location, their grandeur, their time or their site, all of them have borne the signs – names, heraldry or aesthetic tastes – of their tenants. The house was a reflection of the family’s character and, in a certain way, it took on a representative role. This house in Carmena, a small town forty kilometers from Toledo, is not an exception.
The refurbishment project takes as point of departure the challenge of transforming an existing architecture, but also essentially that of critically recovering the ‘good customs’ of the past and blending them with the contemporary ways of life. The design proposed here therefore rejects the need for historical legibility in interventions on heritage, associated to the Athens Charter, as absolute value, particularly when this intervention affects the activity of users or forces to undertake a structural cleansing that takes away the warmth that for many a home must have. As a consequence, the importance that textures, finishes and details have in achieving well-being is preserved, reinterpreted with a critical and open gaze. This confidence in tradition has allowed to place wicker-type doors in the storage areas, to have a modern and safe electrical wire braided over exposed frames, making its replacement and repair easier, or to assemble by hand certain pieces in order to be able to introduce vegetal images. Old materials allow building new structures, with greater spans and capacity, whereas current ones are braided to evoke ancestral woodwork and carving. Moreover, whenever possible, the material used comes from demolitions, turning time into an excellent ally.
The house is organized around an open courtyard which is accessed after crossing a gate made of 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 through in winter. Inside the house, of two floors, the lower one concentrates the public program, while the upper one – currently under construction – will accommodate the bedrooms and more private spaces.
Mariano Lorenzo Nombela, María Carmen Díaz Ruiz
Carlos Jiménez Cenamor, Elisa Fernández Ramos, Lys Villalba Rubio, Manuel Pascual García, Juan Antonio Chacón, Rosana Galián García, Carmen Blanco Romero; Julio Hernanz Cabilla (aparejador quantity surveyor)