AQSO arquitectos office. Atienza music hall, nave, auditorium, apse, landscape, corten steel, quiet, viewpoint, remains

Atienza Music Hall rises from the remains of an old church. It is the result of an incredible work of renovation, that has given a new, modern identity to the site. An open, metallic structure surrounds now the old building to recreate the lost space of the nave; on the side a long, horizontal slit opens a breath-taking view to the valley.

Luis Aguirre
Yi Wenzhen

Site area: 948 sqm
Location: Huete, Cuenca, Spain
Client: Huete Futuro Foundation
Competition, honorable mention

AQSO Atienza music hall, corten steel, restoration, metal structure, landscape, Castilla la Mancha

The apse of Santa MarĂ­a de Atienza is the only remnant of an ancient church of Huete, a small town in central Spain. Located on the top of a hill, the building grows also above an old crypt and faces the stunning valley of Huete. As the former access from the presbytery was blocked, the current one is located on the apse.

AQSO aquitectos office. Atienza music hall, site plan and landscape design, including new pathways with steps, a garden a trees

Despite the recent intervention, the preservation of the remains is still at risk. That is why the renovation is conceived in two stages. First, the architecture should be consolidated, and a thorough archaeological study carried out. Once the monument is restored and analysed, new elements may be built for the protection of the apse.
The rest of the intervention should focus on stabilising the structure and improving the condition of the decorative elements.

AQSO arquitectos office, Atienza music hall, restoration, plans, sections, elevations, pathology analysis

The metallic installation aims to enhance the monument’s beauty, creating a sharp contrast between the remains and a simple, modern form. All the process follows the criteria of an “objective restoration”, that is adapting the building for a new use (the music hall) while making sure it will be protected through periodic maintenance.
The floor of the old church and the new access lie on different levels. This issue was solved with the addition of new pavement and several steps going down towards the apse, which may also serve as seats for the concert hall.

AQSO Atienza music hall, physical model made in balsa wood or basswood, contour lines, 3D terrain, wire trees, copper
AQSO arquitectos office, Atienza music hall, Church remains, section, basement, crypt foundation

The renovation’s result is a composition of sober, metallic walls, which are cut out accordingly to the sightlines, becoming a refuge for the observer. A wide, horizontal window cuts the skin of steel of the new façade, and opens a breath-taking view towards the valley, for the audience’s enjoyment. This sculptural piece is layered with a uniform coat of steel, which confers a rough yet protective character with its seemingly weightless shape.