ARCHITECTURE: Trazia Arquitectura
TEXT: Andreea Mihaela Chircă
PHOTO: Milena Villalba
A house, two different faces: one baroque, exuberant towards the street, the other reserved, introverted towards the inner courtyard. And between the two facets, countless interwoven layers and textures. Museo Casa Ayora offers the experience of exalted materiality, created with various decorative patterns, historical and contemporary.
The building is a former Dominican monastery with Baroque elements, which later became the private residence of the Ayora family – a family of oil traders enriched in the late 19th century. In the bourgeois spirit that allowed itself eccentric gestures, the interior of the house hides a decorative frenzy in which Art Deco wallpapers and hydraulic floor tiles meet, all excellently preserved in their original form. Trazia Arquitectura, together with teams of restorers and archaeologists intervene in this framework – generous with details and ornaments – in order to restore the pre-existing matter, to extend and improve the functioning of the building become a museum. Each room and each plan that composes it, each vertical and horizontal surface (wall, ceiling, floor) has become a project in itself, approached independently, adapted to the overall vision. In a temperate contrast, the contemporary intervention is expressed internally in glass, steel and wood. The different layers that compose the history of the building are legible, in an opposition in which they manage to put each other in the spotlight.
On the outside, the brick extension is woven with closed patterns and punctually with wide meshes, through which the light penetrates in several hypostases. During the day, the floral scenes on the walls and the mosaic floor are animated by beams coming from outside, while the embossed bricks on the façade draw their shadows in continuous motion following the sun. When the evening falls over the building, the light diffuses brightly from inside out, through the new openings and the large original windows. The contemporary form reconstructs the traces of a former demolished annex, while being in material correspondence with the barn at the rear of the 16 x 45 m plot, undergoing restoration. In order to give clues about the symmetry that once defined the façade towards the courtyard, without reconstructing another missing building, the architects chose to mark its imprint with a backlit flooring.
Under the torrid sun of Valencia, the inner courtyard seems to become an oven in which the clay and brick that make up the vertical surfaces are baked in situ. Horizontally, the hard stone and earth pavement is crossed by a fluid ditch and punctuated by a fountain surrounded by orange trees and vines – an oasis with natural elements in motion, in the midst of material aridity. The atmosphere of an old Valencian garden is recreated in this patio which represents the terminus zone. After the baroque encounter of the main facade with the street, after the decorative spread of the historical interior and the extension with masonry lacework, the itinerary finds it end in this open, contained space, which expresses itself in soft terms, while being intensely haptic. The irregular surfaces of the clay, the new and old ceramic brick, the vibrant water, the vegetation slightly trembling in the wind, the light and shadows – all these make the space to be lived in, populated by every material that becomes a living entity.
PROJECT: Museo Casa Ayora; PLACE: Almussafes, Spania; BUILT AREA: 762 mp; PLOT AREA:1043 mp, ARCHITECTURE: Trazia Arquitectura, Carlos Pardo y Lucía Hernández; RESTORATION: Noema Restauradores, Sofia Martínez; ARCHAEOLOGY: Lourdes Roca; COMPLETION YEAR: 2019