Carquero Arquitectura restores ancient Matrera Castle
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Carquero Arquitectura restores ancient Matrera Castle with contemporary elements

A+Awards: Spanish firm Carquero Arquitectura received a 2016 Architizer A+Award for this restoration of a crumbling hilltop castle near Cádiz.

After standing for around 1,000 years, Matrera Castle partially collapsed following a long period of abandonment, leaving only a couple of walls remaining.

Restoration of Matrera Castle, Spain by Carquero Arquitectura

Carquero Arquitectura was tasked with rebuilding the monument to reinforce the existing structure and prevent further collapse.

Rather than replicating the original stonework, the studio filled in the missing sections with a contemporary addition to create a distinction between old and new.

Restoration of Matrera Castle, Spain by Carquero Arquitectura

Lime plaster similar to samples found on the site was used to render the new portions of the structure, creating a stark contrast with the darker stone.

"The proposal aims to avoid the aesthetic mimicry that involves falsification or loss of value of authenticity and, in parallel with the practice in intervention of movable heritage, its historical value is enhanced," said Carquero Arquitectura.

Restoration of Matrera Castle, Spain by Carquero Arquitectura
Only a couple of walls remained after Matrera Castle partially collapsed following a long period of abandonment

The renovation project, which took five years, was heavily criticised by Spanish heritage bodies and locals when it was completed in 2015.

However, the project was lauded in the Architecture + Preservation category at the A+Awards 2016, and also received a Popular Choice recognition from a public vote.

Restoration of Matrera Castle, Spain by Carquero Arquitectura
Carquero Arquitectura was enlisted to rebuild the monument and reinforce the existing structure

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Restoration of Matrera Castle, Spain by Carquero Arquitectura
Site plan – click for larger image
Restoration of Matrera Castle, Spain by Carquero Arquitectura
Elevations – click for larger image