Tangible Palimpsest

arhitects Luis Mansilla, Emilio Tuñón
project Atrio Relais Châteaux Hotel And Restaurant, Cáceres, Spain
written by Juan Ruescas Baztán


Six years now, the creepers have started to dissolve the courtyards as red wine does with words. Atrio1 is one of those formidable places where architecture happens to be confused with life. It is one of those times when the tangible and the frame it inhabits pass undistinguished. When that happens, we are before design at its finest, a construct of the senses as aware of place as they are of time. The history of Cáceres is reasonably well known, as well known as history tends to be. Once a primitive Roman colony, next a Visigothic settlement, later occupied by the Muslims of North Africa, and finally Christian from the thirteenth century, the city of Cáceres — first a villa during the reign of Alfonso ix —, has seen transformation after transformation. Following the Reconquista, churches were built to replace mosques, and Christian palaces were erected over the Muslim ones with a monumentality resulting from the fortunes made in the Americas.