Hotel Abadía Retuerta le Domaine: a restored treasure of the 12th century
Dating of the building: 12th century.
Applicant: Andrés Araya.
Reason for the award :
The Jury appreciated the complex restoration of this 12th-century monument, Spain's first Premonstratensian abbey, as a model for the reuse of an important building that lost its original function and has been carefully adapted to new and sustainable functions.
To solve the problems of dampness, the rehabilitation has included the installation of a hypocaust heating system under the plaster, avoiding the intervention in the old walls of the building.
In 1145, Doña Mayor, daughter of Count Ansúrez, donated terras et vineas to the Church, on which the Premonstratensian Abbey of Santa María de Retuerta was built a year later. The order receives its name from its original seat at the Abbey of Premontré, that was founded in 1120 by Saint Norbert. The Spanish abbey was born, therefore, as a branch of the French parent society. Its purpose was to practice community life, combining meditation with apostolic activities. In 1661, the building was partially destroyed in a fire and rebuilt in Baroque style. The complex is characterized for its good factory of solid stone ashlar, where it is still easy to appreciate the differences between the Romanesque and Baroque styles, thanks to the size and finish of the stone and the positioning of the windows. During the War of Independence, the abbey was, together with Santa María de la Vid Abbey, the only one of its order that survived Napoleonic destruction. The monastery has a classic Benedictine plan with a church, cloister, refectory, chapter house, and hostelry.
The reform of the abbey has respected its almost thousand-year-old integrity, maintaining, as far as possible, the original monastic uses of the different rooms. For this reason, an in-depth historical investigation was carried out, accompanied by respectful restoration and rehabilitation works. Consequently, to solve the dampness without touching the walls, it was decided to install a hypocaust heating system under the plaster. Outside the new abbey, converted into a hotel, a museum garden of red acacia and compact concrete has been built, with numerous sculptures by the German sculptor Ulrich Rückriem.