In the mountains of the southeastern Spanish town of Jumilla sits “La Casa del Ángel,” a small shelter where outdoor enthusiasts have long sought shelter. To bring more people to the shelter, the local government commissioned Murcia-based firm Martin Lejarraga Oficina de Arquitectura to refurbish the small building, which had been worn down by use and the outdoor elements. In renovating the space, the architects reinforced the structural strength and clad the facade in a variety of brickwork to make the building pop against its lush green surroundings.
After decades of use, La Casa del Ángel has become a known fixture in the town of Jumilla. To pay respect to the site history, the architects wanted to turn the building into a “landscape piece” that can be used internally and externally. As a result, a sculptural bench was added to the exterior that wraps around two walls while an extra opening has been added to the covered entrance area to invite passersby to take shelter beneath the roof, which has been reinforced with concrete construction.
Inside, the architects improved the building’s thermal and acoustic insulation and added natural materials that create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The wood used in the structure, windows and doors complement the unique original masonry. Vertically laid brick is also used in the interiors for a portion of the walls and the floors, matching the vertically oriented brick that covers half of the facade. The other half of the facade comprises horizontally oriented brick perforated to let in light and natural ventilation.
“None of the materials are coated, taking advantage of its bareness for giving refuge also to other kind of inhabitants: plants, insects, birds, etc.,” the architects explained. “Because of all this, the refurbishing of ‘La Casa del Ángel’ turns out to be a sustainable and recognizable intervention and, on top of this, a proposal with the goal of being the shelter of people, animal and plants within the wonderful landscape it is inserted.”
Photography by David Frutos via Martin Lejarraga Oficina de Arquitectura