The calcination kilns were built in the nineteenth century by a Spanish mining company that operated them until 1942, when they become obsolete due to the introduction of cheap imported iron and the evolution of technology in metal production that led to their desuetude. After being abandoned, the kilns suffered half a century of plundering that combined with the action of weathering turned most of them into piles of rubble.
This is not a conventional conservation project, but one that reuses and recycles. We didn’t intend to reconstruct faithfully an object of an exclusively productive nature whose precise functioning is unknown to us, but rather to take advantage of its unique beauty to turn an obsolescent industrial artifact into a viewpoint over the desertic landscape. Redundant and obsolete, the way they were operated erased from the collective memory, these inert objects are brought back to life.
Like an "object trouvé", the reconstructed kiln seeks the tension between its original use and the new one that in now given to it. As visitors stroll among the vestiges of the recent past, we also want to induce them to reflect on the accelerating processes of obsolescence in postindustrial society, and the strong mechanisms of change and transformation which entails.
In this project we literally implement the concept of recycling: the material found in the rubble was reutilized to rebuild the first furnace. The firebricks and masonery thus become reused, lengthening the life cycle of these constructions.
The peculiarity of the site and the relationship between the landscape and the architectural object is another of the aims that fuel this project. Without the barren landscape in which these kilns are situated, this project could not be understood. We are facing a strongly altered territory , perhaps the only man made desert in the world, the product of centuries of human exploitation since ancient times when the Romans began the process of deforestation. After years of human activity , now we contemplate the landscape after the battle.
Against this horizon that has been changing slowly for centuries and of a breathtaking beauty, our renovation is intended as soft, ephemeral intervention. We attempted to listen to what was already there, trying not to impose but to take advantage of the pre-existing remains. The new elements placed on the ground are light and temporary, ready to be removed or dismantled at any time.
We would like to invite the visitors to contemplate and appreciate this secluded and melancholic space. The circulation spaces become platforms for observation: we intend to create a space where time slows down, listening to silence, in a place where things happen quietly...
Architects: Castillo-Miras arquitectos (Luis Castillo + Mercedes Miras)
Project Team: Daniel López Martínez, Luis Hervás López
Quantity Surveyor: Luis Hervas Lopez
Site supervision: Luis Castillo Villegas, Jose Luis Tortosa Reche
Structural engineering: Satec Ingenieros S.L.
Contractor:: Rehabitec S.L.
Cliente: Lucainena de las Torres Town Council