Rehabilitation of the Parliament of Cantabria
Dating of the building: 1791.
Applicant: Regional Assembly of Cantabria.
Reason for the award :
For the protection of the architecture of the Parliament through the rehabilitation and restoration of an old historic building.
Europa Nostra awarded the restoration of the oldest civil building in Santander, the Hospital de San Rafael, and its conversion into the seat of the Regional Assembly of Cantabria.
Constructed in 1791, the San Rafael Hospital is the oldest civil building in Santander. Operating until the second half of the 20th century, it became the Conservatory of Music, and later the headquarters of the Menéndez Pelayo University. Since then, it has been going through a period of disuse and abandon. The Regional Assembly of Cantabria initiated a national competition for its transformation into a parliamentary seat, won by the architects José Manuel Sanz and Juan López Rioboo.
As in those days, big hospitals were built round great courtyards, the refurbishing of this building was centered there. Thus, it was decided to cover it with a light structure of glass with two layers to turn it into a central plaza, reception room, and exhibition space. Under the patio, the cistern was recovered as a lounge for the members of the Assembly. The architectural language is functional, always respecting the historical character of the building. Besides, the recovery of the old hospital has led to the regeneration of the area.