2019 Fieldwork: Mudejar civil architecture, a study on new uses with a regional impact

The project entitled Mudejar civil architecture, a study on new uses is a cross-disciplinary initiative in which a data input process has been developed for two main purposes. On the one hand, in order to obtain up-to-date, technologically advanced material on civil architecture with Mudejar elements within Territorio Mudéjar. On the other, to set up phase 0 of a monument management project aimed at putting these buildings to use, thus contributing to their sustainability, their role in society and their inclusion in village life.

This research falls within one of Territorio Mudéjar’s lines of action, which is to design new uses for heritage spaces: technical tours, teaching specific subjects, internships or other types of local activities.

The research is designed as an analytical study based on the management of Mudejar heritage in order to create a realistic action plan that will become a driving force for the cultural development of the local inhabitants and an integrating feature. Therefore, the starting point for the study was to consider the current conditions of the cultural assets themselves and their subsequent development, outlining action plans for each of the cases analyzed. Specifically, the heritage of Daroca, Ateca, Illueca, Borja and Saviñán was assessed.

The study implemented a method for recreating monuments in 3D using photogrammetry: images were taken with cameras and volumes were filmed with the help of drones. In addition, the action plans proposed were designed according to Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas to develop the idea and Porter’s Five Forces Model for the competitive strategy.

Another reference taken into account in the project are the objectives sought in the European “Heritage Houses for Europe. Exchange and Innovate” project, which is based on measuring the positive impact of preserving family-owned heritage houses in Europe, analyzing innovative replicable business models, creating tools to support managers in the sustainable preservation of family-owned heritage houses, raising awareness on the family-owned heritage house sector and issuing recommendations to EU institutions for unleashing the sectors’ potential.

LINE OF RESEARCH: (3) Management of cultural heritage.

THE AUTHORS:

  • Ricardo Monreal Lafuente, art historian.
  • Alba Finol, art historian.
  • Daniel Finol, IT expert.

2019 Fieldwork: Vernacular architecture in Mudejar towns: traditional techniques as a trade for the future in rural areas

The project entitled Traditional vernacular architecture, traditional construction techniques as a trade for the future in rural areas explains how monumental Mudejar architecture uses some of the same materials and techniques as vernacular architecture in many towns. However, over the course of the 20th century industrial development has prompted an abrupt transformation and destruction of vernacular buildings and a gradual decline in traditional construction techniques. In light of this situation, the importance of understanding and appreciating traditional local architecture and its materials has been addressed with a view to ensuring that they are protected, by creating an inventory and conducting a general examination of materials, techniques, types of architecture and current use.

According to this research project, when building users have an understanding of traditional local architecture this will hinder them from replacing it with new buildings and will encourage them to turn to activities aimed at preserving these buildings. Furthermore, awareness of this architecture beyond the limits of the town increases the local inhabitants’ appreciation for it and helps boost the towns’ economy, enabling them to offer cultural experiences that move beyond mere tours of the most important monuments.

The project objectives include raising appreciation for traditional architecture within the area of influence of Aragonese Mudejar art by bolstering the perception of native construction techniques as reliable, sustainable systems and of the buildings made using these techniques as valuable cultural heritage that must be preserved and protected, disseminating and spotlighting the work of local construction-related artisans to promote the endurance of these trades and foster the use of traditional construction techniques in interventions on vernacular heritage, and encouraging the preservation, restoration and compatible renovation of traditional architecture in these settings, to promote the development of sustainable, culturally-friendly tourism.

To this end, the authors have identified and studied the main construction techniques present in the traditional architecture of the Mudejar villages of southern Zaragoza, locating the construction-related artisans working in this area and documenting their work; they have identified and studied the dynamics of intervention on traditional architecture prompted by tourism and have written guidelines for compatible intervention on traditional architecture in the area of influence of the Aragonese Mudejar.

The research work was done in Aniñón, Ateca, Belmonte de Gracián, Cervera de la Cañada, Cosuenda, Daroca, Longares, Maluenda, Romanos, Saviñán, Terrer, Tobed, Torralba de Ribota and Villafeliche.

LINE OF RESEARCH: (1) New Perspectives on Mudejar Art.

THE AUTHOR: Javier Gómez Patrocinio is an architect with a Master’s Degree in Architectural Heritage Preservation and a PhD in Building, Urban Planning and Landscape from the Polytechnic University of Valencia.