Various architectures

Brihuega, Guadalajara

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Rehabilitation of the Church of the Jerónimas de Brihuega Convent in Guadalajara

Adam L. Bresnick, arquitecto

Description Technical file

Mimetic restoration embalms, and the confrontational variety can destroy more tan it constructs, whereas restoring a building and adapting it to a different use while retaining its identity opens the way for architecture. A location for weddings, conferences and exhibitions, this church has now become many spaces in one.

The Church of the Jerónimas de Brihuega Convent was built in 1596. It acted as a hospital during a battle of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1710 and was later ransacked during the Independence War. It survived the vicissitudes of time until it was finally abandoned by the nuns in 1969, due to its state of disrepair. The vault which covered the nave collapsed and had been replaced by metallic trusses, while the load-bearing walls showed cracks between which vegetation had begun to grow. Even more problematic was the question of the damaged main arches responsible for supporting the dome. Due to the collapse of the lantern tower’s wooden structure, a quarter of the dome had crumbled.
During the first phase, the roof was repaired and the overhangs were rebuilt while the façade was grouted. The cornice stones were left with their chips and imperfections, as was the 16th century door. The interior is divided into three distinct areas:
- The structure of the dome and lantern tower has been rebuilt and restored.
- The nave, with its side entrance, has been approached as a set of archaeological remains, together with a new construction which floats and minimally encroaches upon the main space. As a reflection of the old vault, a new arched roof was created through a series of twinned pine strips. The outline of the original vault is visible upon the masonry walls thanks to the plaster and mouldings which remain.
- A third zone contains all the current uses, distributed over four levels occupying the old chancel, where one can find a staircase, bathrooms, a kitchen, changing rooms and a storeroom. A lift ensures access for those with reduced mobility. This whole space is connected to the cantilevered area which generates a new chancel, which is itself a part of the space. The new volume is inserted between the exposed stone walls and a skylight above the staircase accentuates the conceptual separation of the original volume.
The original materials have been used, imbuing them with a more contemporary lexicon. The cream ivory marble spreads across the floor of the nave, white paint highlights walls and cornices, and pine slats form the ceiling and envelop the modern chancel, suspended above the nave. A white concrete structure supports this piece, engaging in a dialogue with the stones. The new zones are paved with resin and black terrazzo to visually differentiate them from the original stone.

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Localización Location: Brihuega, Guadalajara. Spain. Arquitectos Architects: Estudio Adam Bresnick Arquitectos. Promotor Developer: Fernando González González, Organización: Sensaciones en la Alcarria. Colaborador Collaborator: Miguel Peña Martínez-Conde, arquitecto colaborador. Antonio Romeo Donlo, arquitecto colaborador. Juan F. de la Torre Calvo, EUTECA cálculo de estructuras. Ana Fernández-Cuartero Paramio, EUTECA cálculo estructural. Olga Vallespín Gómez, arqueóloga. Joaquín Fernández González, gestor del proyecto. Federico Vega Ortega, aparejador. José de Andrés Abad, ingeniero industrial. Date: Octubre 2009 - Septiembre 2012. Coste Cost: 851,499,42€. Fotografía Photography: Eugeni Pons.
Suppliers list
Mármol crema / marfil Ivory: Incompastor
Eugeni Pons
Lloret, Girona