Emerging from the lush furrows of fertile soil, a humble 19th-century dwelling stands as a silent testament to history. In the embrace of the agricultural landscape, this unassuming abode echoes with the whispers of time, its gaze fixed upon the horizon, eternally connected to the land it calls home.
While time has aged this century-old sanctuary, the bond between its architectural legacy and the rural context endures. A type of stone block, Cantilla, that once supported the cathedral naves of Malaga, now forms the backbone of this dwelling’s walls. Yet, as age took its toll, the building fell into disrepair – devoid of modern amenities, grappling with dampness, lacking ventilation, and shivering in winter’s chill. However, within the rough walls and weathered timbers lies an indomitable spirit, a history woven with the threads of a steadfast community that shaped the Axarquia region’s destiny.
The architect’s reverence for the past, the stones, and the untold stories infused new life into the dwelling. The intervention unfolds gently, embracing the spirit of renewal while preserving the rugged authenticity that speaks of toil and triumph. A roof on the brink of collapse due to weakened wooden beams finds salvation through an iron substructure. The interior, untouched in its layout, undergoes a metamorphosis through the artful blending of materials that bridge the gap between eras. A symphony of textures, a dance of tradition and innovation, transforms the space into a timeless haven.
The heart of this transformation lies in the tactile embrace of materials. Catalan tiles, measuring 14×28 cm, rise as a protective tapestry up to the lintel heights in bathroom, hallway, and bedroom spaces. Their warm hues envelop occupants, exuding an aura of comfort. The tiles play with dimensions in the bathroom, shifting to 5×25 cm to draw attention to functional areas. Gleaming black ceramic tiles delineate wet zones, a visual compass pointing to the bathtub and kitchen. Terracotta floors, once scraped, sanded, and sealed, stand proud as relics of a bygone era, telling tales of footsteps that have tread upon them for generations.
The walls breathe anew with white natural lime mortars, creating an environment that echoes the rhythm of time. Thermal buffering whispers secrets of comfort, providing coolness in the summer’s shade and holding warmth within the walls during the harsh winter. The dwelling wears its history like a badge of honor, exuding resilience and embracing the elements that define its essence.
Within the dwelling, an east-west divide weaves stories of intimacy and shared spaces. The eastward-facing realm, housing the nocturnal solace of bathroom, hallway, and bedroom, stands in contrast to the westward-facing nave, home to communal gatherings and culinary creations. The architecture of purpose and intention is heightened through an interior design that weaves materials, light, and comfort into an intricate tapestry. This interplay invites the dweller on an introspective journey, a sensory odyssey where tranquility, simplicity, and hospitality converge, coaxing contemplation.
This renewal, a shield against the urban tide, is an ode to timelessness. Amidst the restored walls, echoes of a different era resonate, urging contemplation on life’s journey, history’s tapestry, and the symbiotic relationship between place and time. Here, the seeds of thought sprout, fostering inquiries about sustainable living and the essence of human needs in a dwelling. What does it take for a space to embrace the human soul? The dwelling whispers an answer, a testament to endurance, renewal, and the perpetual dance between past and present.
Area: 155 m²
Photographs: Juanca Lagares
Manufacturers: Aldecora, Artecer Sevilla cerámicas, FARO Barcelona, Grupo Puma, Marset, TOPCRET, Zara Home
Lead Architect: Francisco Ortega Ruiz