San Miguel District Refurbishment

The main intention of this urban intervention is to revitalize a degraded public space with the reinterpretation of local traditional pottery, normally used in objects, now applied to an urban scale.

We decided to use local Talavera´s traditional pottery as the main material, as it is a product of excellent plastic qualities and deeply rooted in local culture. Usually it used with drawings and motifs from the Renaissance in small-scale objects. We propose greatly increase the size of those drawings that adorn vases and dishes up to the urban scale, showing new possibilities for this fabulous symbolic craft material, important for its inhabitants.

The Renaissance strong yellow and blue colors mix, its traditional drawings as well as the ancient local crafty way of working with the ceramics made this project a unique combination of tradition and modernity, color and public space.

OOIIO Architecture won First Prize in the Design Open Competition with its proposal for the Refurbishment of San Miguel District in Talavera de la Reina, Spain, re-designing two degraded spaces into two new fresh urban squares open to all residents, destined to become a new landmark for the city.

With a few simple interventions we turned these spaces into one of the most attractive squares in the city: “San Miguel Square” and “El Salvador Square”.

San Miguel Square:

Although the goal is to recycle the horizontal plane of the square, we prefer to concentrate the bulk of the intervention in the vertical plane, since we find there the presence of big grey dividing walls from tall buildings giving the back to the square, making people understand that they are on a “back of house” urban plot, a secondary zone, so this urban space use to be always degraded.

We left the horizontal plane as accessible and comfortable as possible for pedestrians reducing traffic to a defined track, protecting the main open space for pedestrians with concrete benches, specifically designed and located to contemplate the great wall of Talavera´s pottery that will completely change the look of the square forever, becoming one of the most revered places in the city.

The strong and visual intervention in the vertical plane will contribute to recover and enhance the existing medieval tower of the ancient wall, which was being lost in between grey buildings competing in height with it.

It will be now highlighted together with the ceramic mosaic. Its colors and drawings are the same that the Renaissance craftsman use to work with on its domestic objects, and was cooked and drawn by hand tile after tile, up to 6.500 pieces.

San Miguel Square changed radically thanks to OOIIO´s intervention. It used to be a degraded parking and is today something special, worthy to be seen for visitors and city inhabitants.

El Salvador Square:

In this case we created a new flexible Scenic Urban Space to revitalize culturally the public space of Talavera de la Reina. A place you can enjoy watching a film in the summer cinema, listening music in the open air, going to exhibitions, dancing in concerts…

This project comes from a rigorous analyze of the public urban space in Talavera, taking into account the traffic flows, sunlight, topography and pre-existing use.

The church in the Square is an important local monument and is used nowadays as cultural center. The project idea was to take out the cultural events from the interior of the church to the exterior public space, to give everyone the opportunity of watching them and revitalize the city public space life.

This urban auditorium is making the cultural offering of Talavera more attractive and diverse.

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