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Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Spain Architecture News - Oct 06, 2023 - 16:04   1476 views

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Murcia-based architecture practice Ecoproyecta has restored two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña, by preserving its historic traces and identity perceived in the structures' materiality.

Named Restoration of Two Snow Wells in Sierra Espuña, Murcia, the 308-square-metre project was completed as part of a large master plan for the Snow Wells of Sierra Espuña, Spain.

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

The masterplan included the cataloging and analysis of the state of conservation of these ancient ice factories. 

During the restoration, the architects paid attention to the original construction and materiality of the structures, and used traditional techniques and local materials. Major materials included stone, brick masonry accompanied by lime mortar. 

In line with the conservation efforts, in November 2022, the cultural landscape of the wells was declared a Cultural Heritage Site (BIC) in the category of "ethnographic place of interest.

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

"Among the urgent measures outlined in the Master Plan was the restoration of wells number 11 and 13 due to their uniqueness, accessibility, and state of conservation," said Ecoproyecta, led by Pablo Carbonell Alonso and Juan Miguel Galera Miñarro. 

"Despite significant damage and the collapse of a substantial part of their domes, they still retained enough structure and data for their recovery."

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

While the snow well number 11 stands out as the largest in Sierra Espuña, proposing a significant structural challenge, the architects preserved the well number 13's original dome. 

The architects' goal was to provide valuable information about its geometry.

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Objectives and Restoration Methodology: The Challenge of Working with Traditional Techniques and Materials

The aim of this project was to preserve their original geometry recovering their original geometry. Thus there would be two complete examples in the 28-well complex.

The team preferred to use traditional construction techniques and materials, comprised of stone and brick masonry - accompanied by lime mortar. 

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

"Before this intervention, no complete well remained in Sierra Espuña following its original structure, as the two previously restored ones were erected using metal structures, diverging from traditional techniques," said the office.

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Two Wells, Two Construction Systems

As the studio emphasized, there were two distinct typologies on the plot: well number 11 was made of a mixed construction dome - stone and brick. On the other hand, well number 13 was made of a stone masonry dome built by layering. 

"This resulted in domes with different shapes, one resembling a hemisphere and the other a cone," the studio explained. 

"We chose to employ these traditional construction systems to preserve the authenticity of the original typologies."

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Visitor Experience

The architects said that "our ultimate goal was not to restore the original use of these ice factories, which is no longer relevant today." 

"Instead, we aimed to enable visitors to explore these unique structures and learn about the history of the ice trade in the past." 

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

To enhance the visitor experience, the team added a new access elements, such as an observation deck and staircase in well 11, as well as a walkway crossing the void in well 13. These elements were designed and constructed in wood, distinguish themselves from the original materials.

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Floor plan

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Section

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Section

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Sections

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Elevations

Ecoproyecta restores two snow wells to its original state in Sierra Espuña

Sections & diagrams

Project facts

Project name: Restoration of Two Snow Wells in Sierra Espuña, Murcia

Architects: Ecoproyecta

Location: Sierra Espuña, Murcia, Spain 

Size: 308m2

Construction completion year: 2023

All images © David Frutos.

All drawings © Ecoproyecta.

> via Ecoproyecta

Ecoproyecta lime mortar masonry renovation restoration snow well stone