Imp. Caes. Machuca,

Luis Manovel Mariño+Enrique Flores

Translation y transfiguration. A cylinder of light in a pure prism.

The essential volumetry of the palace of Charles V moves from the Alhambra to the banks of the river Genil. The analysis of Pedro Machuca’s architecture projects a contemporary abstraction, a contemporary understanding of the right angle, of the classical orders and sustainable materiality. Imp. Caes. Machuca is the result of a process of appeasement and reduction of Renaissance architecture based on two fundamental elements: light and classical orders. Light is the generator of the project and its center. The basic forms of the square and the circle refer to that original conception of architecture, which is inevitably maintained over time. The orders, however, are reduced to the minimum expression. The robustness of the Doric and the lightness of the Ionic are transformed into simple systems of parallelepipeds.

The pavilion has, like the palace, a double intention: to generate a clean, regular and well-structured elevation towards the exterior public space, and to host in the interior a singular space, of cylindrical conception and marked by light. The volume appears in the distance clean in its forms, translucent white due to its recycled polycarbonate exterior and honestly showing its wooden elevation, its new superimposed orders. We enter the covered space and it reveals the sawn timber framework. A simple and legible grid of pillars supporting a bowl visible from below. Horizontal and diagonal beams are joined together to form a natural, decipherable structure. Finally we are called to inhabit the Roman impluvium and light floods the pavilion. The bowl transforms and reveals its annealed copper cover. The circumference directs our gaze to the sky, the trees and the mountains.

The construction of the pavilion seeks simplicity and the use of as few materials as possible. Wood will be the material of choice, from the floor planking to the light load-bearing structure. The knots always look for the interlocking between wood elements and the use of as few metal parts as possible. The exterior envelope will consist of recyclable cellular polycarbonate sheets, light and waterproof. The roof is materialized by means of annealed copper plates, of a reddish, rust color.

The transfiguration is complete, the volume is at the same time unitary in its conception and open and dynamic in its use. There are no visual limits and the passage of the pedestrians is free in the 4 cardinal points. The ephemeral pavilion will provide the Plaza del Humilladero with a versatile space with room for a multitude of interpretations. It will be able to host exhibitions, games, talks, concerts, presentations and events of all kinds.

The transfer of the palace of Charles V will bring a little piece of the Alhambra to the center of Granada. Its forms are reduced and its language simplified, but the essence of its Renaissance architecture remains. The eastern entrance to the Granada palace, the most austere of the three, bears the motto with which Charles V wanted to pass to posterity: IMP. CAES. KAROLO V. The proposed pavilion seeks to vindicate and celebrate the architecture of the man who one day dreamed of that great cylinder of light: IMP. CAES. MACHUCA.


Authors: Luis Manovel Mariño+Enrique Flores.
Location: Granada, Spain.
Year: 2022