La Casa de la Sevillana –as called in the Heritage catalogue of this small municipality in the middle of Spain-, is an impressive traditional courtyard house from the 17th Century. Once the house of the priest, is currently inhabited by a young and dynamic entrepreneur committed to rural development who has promoted its rehabilitation for housing.
The project favours subtraction over addition, removing the unfortunate changes that modified the original in previous interventions, and trying to respect the essence of the original house.
The main façade is strikes as one walks through the narrow neighbouring streets. It is left untouched, as it is in a good state, therefore making the intervention unseen for the neighbours. The impressive façade leads into three two heighted longitudinal volumes, with thick load-bearing walls. These chambers are organized around a patio. The gallery which this layout forms is held up by the original stone columns, and sustains a timber galley above it. The project aim is to enhance these traditional elements, which is achieved by leaving them to stand on their own, installing a modern glazed galley behind them, thus creating a distinct separation between the interior and exterior, while maintaining a visual connection.
The interior is restructured for its new user. The kitchen is placed in the centre of the house (previously a bedroom without windows), connecting it with the adjacent rooms, the gallery and the central patio. The kitchen becomes the heart of the home. A skylight is opened above, crossing through the first floor, allowing light to softly illuminate the ground floor.
A new connection is created between the kitchen and the cellar, previously with a deficient accessibility. In the cellar the original floor is recovered. A simple treatment of the space highlights the beautiful barrel vault.
All the rooms have a similar, whilst individual, treatment. Neutral flooring and wall painting give a homogenous appearance to the whole house, but small details differentiate each room. The library and playroom acquire a distinctive treatment as a result of the use of blue flooring and details in a relocated existing bookshelf.
Four strategies are applied in the rehabilitation process:
Subtraction. To uncover the original building, all those unsuitable elements which have been added thought the years are eliminated. It includes false ceilings, balconies, unnecessary partitions….
Reparation. Building pathologies are repaired, such as cracks in the façade or fissures which generate leaks. Energy improvement. Beams, wooden boards, and original roof tiles are preserved, but insulation is added to improve the energetic performance. Windows are homogenised with a minimal wooden design, widening small openings, and adding traditional sun protection according to the orientation. Efficient facilities are installed, and the house is sectorized, considering those spaces which will be commonly used, and those which will eventually host guests.
Contemporary elements. Several contemporary elements are added including a glazed gallery which improves the relationship between inside and outside, a wooden gallery in the first floor which reinterprets the traditional gallery, and several skylights which bring light to previously insalubrious spaces.
Local construction. The project is km 0, executed by local construction workers, with a low budget and prioritizing materials and resources from the near surroundings. Ceramic tiles are manually produced by an artisan in the region, carpentry, stone, paint, or sun protection blinds are all carefully chosen from manufacturers in the zone. Doors and carpentry work is made by the local carpenter, while most interior details are made by the blacksmith who repairs the machinery in the fields.
Selective framing. A careful selection of what ceiling beams and traditional elements are left seen or painted is carried out. This selective framing of existing elements generates a unified image, providing a very low budget interior design, highlighting the traditional pre-existing features.