Nine Vaults

José María Sánchez
Badajoz, Spain

A daring sculptural gesture from the architect José María Sánchez that enriches the spaces of a vaulted dwelling in Villanueva de la Serena.

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Photos: © Roland Halbe

The refurbishment of this house in Villanueva de la Serena, a small town in Badajoz, starts out from the acceptance of the contradictions of the original building, which combines modulated and ornamented facades with a series of highly complex interior spaces. Designed by José María Sánchez, the project inverts the existing structural order due to functional requirements, creating a new layout that distinguishes two essential units, the old house and the new. The ground floor, defined as a grid of rooms with arched vaults resting on bearer walls, is transformed by means of a bold structural gesture that multiplies its functionality.

Two T-beams relieve the space they span from intermediate supports, generating a new open-plan living room that opens horizontally onto the interior garden and is covered by a unique combination of brick masonry arches. This division generated by the structural cross and the two barrel vaults is translated into different virtual precincts within a continuous space. The bedrooms are distributed on the first floor and configured as intermediate zones between the rear garden and a circulation space that can serve as place of work and study.

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A bold structural gesture frees up the ground floor from intermediate elements, permitting the creation of an open-plan space thanks to two T-beams that distribute the loads to up to four perimetral columns.

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