Castell d’Emporda by Concrete


Dutch architects Concrete designed flattened parasols of rusted steel to shelter the terraced restaurant outside a historic castle in Girona, Spain.

Castell d’Emporda by Concrete

The canopy is composed of twelve steel-coated discs that overlap one another to cover up to 200 diners at the restaurant.

Castell d’Emporda by Concrete

Gaps between circles on the canopy surface are filled with glass.

Castell d’Emporda by Concrete

Transparent curtains can be hung around the parasols to provide additional protection from the wind.

Castell d’Emporda by Concrete

Surrounding the courtyard is the fourteenth century castle, which was converted into a boutique hotel back in 1999.

Castell d’Emporda by Concrete

This story is our third in recent months to feature a converted castle - see our earlier stories about castles converted into museums in Germany and in the Alps.

Photography is by Ewout Huibers.

More information has been provided by the architects:

Program: a terrace covering to accommodate 200 people.

Short design story

Hotel Castell D’emporda located in Girona, Spain offers a signature restaurant including a large terrace with great views over the surrounding landscape. Concrete designed, at the clients’ request, a roof or covering for this terrace with the possibility to create an enclosed space with full wind and rain protection. One of the design conditions was to create a covering that works in harmony with the historical and listed building. Additionally we wanted to maintain the terrace feeling while be seated under the covering.

Castell d’Emporda by Concrete

Click above for larger image

In principle a terrace is an outdoor space where one can enjoy the weather. If necessary, you need a parasol for sun or rain protection, but there is almost no obstruction between the visitor and the view. The solution was to create abstract parasols. 12 Circles in divers diameters are placed randomly on the terrace. Where the circles touch they melt together, the open spaces between circles are filled in with glass. The circular parasol shapes enhance the feeling of being in an outdoor environment on a terrace. The shape of the covering appears as a separate almost temporary element, leaving the ancient building untouched.

A glass roof or a winter garden would to much become a building, create a feeling being inside a structure and would also appear as an extension of the building, damaging the ancient character.

The top and edge of the parasols are made in rusted steel, seeking harmony with the ancient building and the natural environment. The white painted steel columns and ceiling create an open and light outdoor atmosphere under the parasols. Transparent sliding curtains can be hung easily in colder periods but always stay open. When the mistral winds suddenly appear the whole terrace can be closed in a couple of minutes.

Round and square marble tables and two white leather lounge couches create different seating facilities. Underneath one parasol a circular outdoor bar is placed. The restaurant now has his own name: Margarit.

Castell d’Emporda by Concrete

Click above for larger image

History Castell d'Emporda

Castell d’emproda was build in 1301 on a hill nearby the small city of La Bisbal close to Girona (Spain). The castle has been owned for centuries by the Margarit family. In 1973 Salvador Dali wanted to buy the castell for his wife, but the owner refused a payment in artworks. Since 1999 Castell d’emporda has been transformed into a boutique hotel.

Project: Castell D’emporda
Client: Albert Diks, Margo Vereijken - Castell D’emporda - La Bisbal, Girona

Concept, architecture and interior: Concrete
Office address: Rozengracht 133 III
Postal code: 1016 lv
City: Amsterdam
Country: the Netherlands

Project team concrete: Erikjan Vermeulen, Rob Wagemans, Cindy Wouters, Melanie Knuewer

Building regulations: Figa Arquitectos - Girona
Structural advice: Bellapart Construction - Olot

Contractors and suppliers:
Steel construction and corten steel: Bellapart Construction - Olot
Groundwork, ceilingwork and electrical: Burgos Gasull – la bisbal
Transparant curtains: Iaso - Lieida
Bar, loungeseating and tables: Roord Binnenbouw - Amsterdam
chairs: Academia - Italy
lighting: Modular

Covered area: 250m2
First briefing: januari 2011
Opening: june 2011
Duration of construction: 2 months

  • Flat Masdar from LAVA…

    • H-J

      Don't you mean JohnsonWax by Frank Lloyd Wright?

      • No, because the Johnson Wax is a regular array of identical umbrellas, whereas the Masdar LAVA project was made of different size (height and diameters) and diplayed as a swarm on a slopped piazza.

        • H-J

          Exactly, so they only rescaled the identical umbrellas of FLW's JohnsonWax to differentiate diameter…

        • ygogolak

          They all look like they are at the same height to me. Some difference there would have been nice.

  • Goose II

    This looks awful. Its far too heavy for its surroundings. What a shame and waste of money

  • I think its beautiful, they look like transformer waterlilies.

  • Ummm

    Normal, big umbrellas would have been better, lighter. This is too heavy and opaque.

  • I would have covered the steel with some of those lovely Italian tiles.

  • Noud

    From the top it looks beautiful , from the bottom
    much to heavy

  • truthnbeauty

    Great conceptual idea from above………….where did it go from below………where one actually experiences the structure? Too thick…….too visually and materially heavy………too 'constructed'. Poor execution of a beautiful concept.

  • Oh well

    Where is the building? Oh wait, I can’t see it, it’s behind those umbrellas. What a beautiful way to showcase an historic building.