Award Cycle:Status:ShortlistedLocation:Almeria, SpainClient:Junta de Andalucía, Ayuntamiento de Huercal OveraArchitect:Castillo Miras ArquitectosDesign:2005-2006Size:Ground floor area: 78 m2; Site area: 3'484 m2Completed:2010
A restoration enhanced by modern design elements and sensitivity towards its built and natural environment. The project explores the dichotomy between the solid, ageless construction of the existing 13th century Nasrid Tower, made by anonymous craftsmen, and the provisional, light, degradable nature of the contemporary. The additions to the original building are conceived as future ruins, removable, temporary objects placed directly onto the ground without foundations and made with contrasting materials. The restoration of the Tower itself involved the preservation of original materials where possible, removing modern additions and resurfacing the original mud wall and interior brick fabric. To restore the original entry to the tower, four metres above ground level, a new pre-rusted steel staircase tower and toilet and office container were built. The space was adapted for use as an exhibition space but a range of events, including weddings, have taken place. The landscaping of the area adjacent to the tower re-uses the existing topography to minimise ground alteration. A careful, sensitive restoration project has been undertaken which has restored the presence and meaning of the historic Tower, while at the same time a modern design project produced which demonstrates great flair and a sensitivity towards its built and natural environment. The main achievement has been to transform a derelict building into a symbol of the village and its past, and it has become a powerful tourist attraction.