Martin Lejarraga Architecture office completes a contemporary refurbishment of an old 20th-century apartment building in Cartagena, Spain. Delicias Building embraces the city as a work that brings life to the surroundings through a controlled action that is both modern and distinctive.
The project seeks to draw attention to the unique features of the existing structure to revive the building and its urban surroundings. The proposal restores the original construction by identifying and preserving the building's historical and architectural characteristics.
The refurbishment follows as a continuous, integral intervention carried out in two complementary layers. The first layer correlates to the ground, first and second levels. The project retains the original façade by preserving its design elements while adapting the interior layout to commercial use on the ground floor and apartment units on the upper floor. The second layer comprises the uppermost levels, which are volumetrically defined and showcase new façade planes and walkable terraces.
The second layer's façade housing the attic apartments opens to allow access to the terraces, and its exterior finish gives the intervention a subdued yet distinct appearance, making room for a conversation between the past and the present. The continuous upper layer features ceramic modular components and a balanced composition of solids and voids moulded by the exposed requirements.
Ambient colours blend in with the surrounding settings, keeping the new facade grounded in the shadows of the original envelope. In conclusion, the design modestly embodies the preservation, expression, and continuity of the urban fabric in which it is ingrained, as well as the value of its acknowledged historical significance.