The aim of the project was to create a fresh and inspiring hotel that values the beauty of the existing architecture. The intervention consisted of transforming a single-family house between party walls dating from the 18th (and early 19th) century into an 8-room interior tourism hotel, which is divided into a basement, ground floor, first floor, second floor and attic floor.
The building is located in two emblematic streets in the historic centre of Maó (Menorca), Anuncivay and Sant Ferran, and was the home of Joan Roca Vivent, merchant, privateer, and disseminator of the idiosyncrasies of Maó. For 50 years Roca Vivent wrote his Chronicle of Maó, reflecting his entrepreneurship and frenetic commercial activity and a cosmopolitanism that was nourished by the European cultural influences of the Enlightenment; above all under English sovereignty (71 years) and to a lesser extent, Spanish (15 years) and French (7 years).
According to the owners, Ignasi Truyol and Stephanie Mahé, "the building was in a state that called for action and renovation to fill it with light, it was very dark; it was also not very functional, but the real magic and personality of the place were very much alive".
Ignasi and Stephanie entrusted the project to their childhood friend and local architect Emma Martí, who, like a surgical operation, worked to conserve as many of the building's elements as possible and thus enhance the spirit and character of a unique building.
The plot on which Hevresac is located has a trapezoidal, almost triangular shape. This means that, inside, the rooms parallel to the long party wall are rectangular and those adjacent to Sant Ferran street are trapezoidal.
The intervention therefore sought to fulfil two basic objectives: to conserve existing architectural elements (stucco, staircase, flooring, wooden beams, ceilings, woodwork) and to fill the building with light and life.
In the conservation of elements, Emma opted to maintain the image of the façade with the sash windows. To provide the interior with thermal and acoustic comfort, she designed a large double window that does not interfere with the views and allows you to enjoy a comfortable and efficient building.
A similar intervention was applied to all the interior carpentry that provides access to each of the eight rooms. To preserve the original woodwork, a double wooden skin was devised for the doors leading to the rooms, which provides privacy and comfort while preserving the magic of the past.
For the exterior windows, solid autoclave-treated Flanders pine was used, while for the interior doors, a three-layer fir wood was chosen, a material that marks a new, more contemporary language regarding the building's history.
In relation to this history, the owners' aim was to create a space of history and stories where a vernacular, alternative, sensitive, authentic, autochthonous and empowered Menorca would be projected. That architectural footprint, transformed by Emma Martí with ecological awareness, would vindicate the duality of souls of the property: the British past, which combines hydraulic floors with original stuccoes and parquets, with the natural and simple beauty of the Menorcan vernacular aesthetic, both complemented with small doses of modernity and contemporaneity of the materials.
The original hydraulic mosaic floor tiles and the wooden parquet were also preserved. In the areas where it was not possible to preserve original elements, a new language was chosen, for example, with microcement, but always using a variant of the original material.
The stucco on the walls and the original paintings on the beams were uncovered in an elaborate process that has made it possible to recover part of the building's hidden history.
To fill the spaces with natural light, several skylights were opened on the upper floor, as well as three new openings in the façade. In the basement, the vaulted ceiling made of local marès stone required an intervention to lighten the space and fill it with light. Thus, a bay of the existing vault was removed to make the space brighter and to be able to place the new, more comfortable staircase linking the ground floor and the basement.
A skylight was also opened above the main stairwell. This new staircase accompanies the original staircase, but allows a new route through the hotel. The structure, made of steel and three-layer spruce board, is light and coexists with the original staircase, adding a contemporary touch.
In addition to using materials in accordance with sustainability criteria in the execution of the project, such as wood and cork, one of the main strategies already explained has been the reuse of elements such as joinery and flooring, among others. The new forging of the staircase area has not reproduced the original forging of the dwelling, but has been executed with fir wood to distinguish the intervention from the building's pre-existing elements.
In the rooms and common areas, a major insulation exercise has been carried out with black cork on the façade and roof, which improves the thermal performance of the building and provides acoustic comfort.
The result is a space in which the guest feels pampered, through history, but also through a hotel model that cares for the environment and is concerned for the well-being of all parties. To enter Hevresac is to enter a unique universe full of beauty and history. The communal areas, for example, reflect friendliness, empathy and a relaxed atmosphere in which to work, play and even cook in a kitchen equipped for guests. Hevresac invites you to share and live together in spaces that are sources of creativity and curiosity.