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The Revival of Tradition - 'Crafts Direct' in Granada, Spain

Part 2 Project 2003
Matt Clay
Anna Barbieri
Oxford Brookes University Oxford | UK
The layers of historical sediment are revealed and twisted into continuous forms, metaphorically rooting the building into its culturally rich surroundings. In producing such sinuous forms, new construction techniques are woven closely with traditional ones; fluid circulation seamlessly bleeds spaces into one another, allowing visitor and local alike to meander through or around the site.

I wanted to create a dramatic yet engaging architectural environment by linking the front and back of the site by introducing a unifying element - a spine - off which would hang all the functions, structure and circulation. Maintaining a sense of scale in such a dense urban area was important but revealing the site’s history was critical; the relationship with the earth afforded vivid contrasts with light and dark, sky and ground.

Matt Clay
Anna Barbieri

In 1994 the historical area of Albaicin, located in front of the Alhambra Palaces in Granada, was designated by UNESCO as one of the very few 'Heritage of Mankind' sites for its unique architectural traits.

The design brief was mutated from an existing competition to provide a range of shops and workshops for the original craftsmanship typical of this area. The 'Crafts Direct' Centre would be equipped with public facilities such as a public square, an information office, a small museum of historical artefacts, a flamenco dance school and a restaurant.

The site, which enjoys spectacular views over to the Alhambra Palaces, was chosen also for the potential afforded by its sloping rear elevation, and its connection to the existing urban fabric.


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