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Adaptation of the Castle ruins on Cerrillo de los Moros, Navas del Rey, Madrid, Spain
Year 2016

    Adaptation of the Castle ruins on Cerrillo de los Moros, Navas del Rey, Madrid, Spain

    Project 2016

    Based on the evidence provided by the latest diggings in the area, it is known that the old castle on Cerrillo de los Moros consisted in a rectangular layout tower with curved corners and an added cylindrical shape. This tower keep was surrounded by a bailey in which a sunken habitable space was located. The castle was enclosed by an outer wall and a moat that kept it apart from its surroundings.

    We considered that, in order to explain the meaning and shape of the castle, the most appropriate way of approaching this intervention is by arranging a critical typological reinstatement. This involves rearranging in an essential way all the elements that define the type of castle this was. Coincidentally, a great amount of the original stones used to erect the castle had been gathered in the area after being dug out during the latest archaeological campaigns. This allows for the possibility of reusing this material in order to rebuild some disappeared elements.

    Two leading guidelines are followed regarding how the reinstatement of the castle in Navas del Rey should be carried out: the material continuity of the castle and the clear distinction between new and preexisting elements.

    The dug out moat presented maintenance problems and tended to collapse. Therefore the moat is kept covered and its layout is indicated by a surface layer of crushed stone. There is no trace of the drawbridge, so a completely contemporary design is adopted for its reconstruction. The outer walls are rebuilt using the gathered stones once belonging to the castle, assembling them in a cyclopean concrete type of bonding with lime mortar between stones. The bailey is partially excavated in order to adjust its contour to the entrance through the drawbridge. On the bailey ground stood an old flight of stairs leading to the tower keep, presumably too steep for today’s standards. Consequently, a new contemporary flight of stairs is designed instead, assembled as a galvanized electrowelded wire mesh ‘box’.

    The tower keep is the most symbolic castle element, whose reconstruction is arranged in a way that leaves no doubt that it is a typological reinterpretation. The first wall layer is erected stabilizing the existing masonry remains, only assembling the reused existing stones in a cyclopean concrete type of bonding with lime mortar in between, like on the outer walls. The second wall layer of the tower consists of stacked up gabions filled with smaller existing stones, clearly conveying its contemporary nature, and creating a body of walls physically detached from the lower one by a thin crack-like horizontal opening. Enclosed by the gabion walls at the center of the tower a new open-air space is created, on whose inner walls it is possible to hang, as in a ‘lapidarium’ wall, a selection of the finest carved stones that were found during the diggings and gathered in the area among smaller chunks. Inside the cylindrical shape stands a spiral staircase, whose steps are articulated by a folded metal sheet leading to a platform on top with views onto the landscape around. Under the concrete floor at entrance level lies an undivided space surrounded by the old remaining walls and the added spaced-out masonry restitution, lit up through the horizontal opening between the two bodies of walls. This lower room is accessed through a flight of stairs formed by a folded metal sheet supported on electrowelded wire meshing hanging from the upper concrete slab.

    Authors: Linazasoro&Sánchez Arquitectura
    Collaborators: Andoni Garrán, Alba Troitiño Bernal, Domenico Cristofalo