The new Atrio Relais-Châteaux, located at St Matthews Square in Caceres, tries to rethink the city departing from the principles that made it possible in the first place. It tries to imagine how such thing can be carried out in our time, enabling contemporary architecture to stand side by side the historic core, with respect and dignity.
Inside the medieval precinct of the city of Caceres, the compound on which the new building has been erected was formed by two volumes deeply degraded after years of neglect. The new construction fits into these buildings like a hermit crab inside an empty seashell. Thus, the new use re-vitalizes and re-habilitates the life-less constructions establishing an organic symbiosis and acquiring a new sense of contemporaneity.
What is truly important for us is to accept the fact that there is no such thing as the past or the future, but only our present, the present of our past and the present of our future. This assumption implies a way to understand contemporary architecture as a permanent oscillation between strategies for participation and strategies for environmental coexistence.
TECHNICAL DATA. Location: Plaza de San Mateo, Cáceres, Spain. Architects: Luis Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón. Client: San Mateo Hotel SL. Collaborators: Carlos Martínez de Albornoz, Andrés Regueiro, Marceline Ruckstuhl, Carlos Brage, Arabella Masson, Elke Gmyrek, Ignacio Peydro, Teresa Cruz, Anna Partenheimer, Ainoa Prats, Joao Leitao, Bárbara Silva, Carlos Cerezo. Structural engineers: Alfonso Gómez Gaite. Mechanical engineers: J.G. Asociados. Quantity Surveyor/Technical Architect: Fernando Benito Fernández Cabello. Work Completion: 2010. Built area: 3.000 m2 .General contractor: UTE Joca-Placonsa. Photographer: Luis Asín.