The Casería de Tomillos

Alcalá del Valle, Cádiz, Andalucía.

Dating of the building: 16th century.

Applicant: Pedro Enrique Santos Buendía.

Reason for the award :

For the careful restoration of this 16th-century farmhouse, carried out and financed exclusively by its owner to restore it to its original importance as a symbolic monument in its scenic surroundings.

For the restoration, the local masons had to learn traditional construction techniques and became aware of the richness of the historical legacy that surrounds them.

In 1998, John Byrne acquired an abandoned and looted farm in Alcala del Valle, used as a pigsty and henhouse. The few habitable units were used by workers and families who lived precariously. However, under poorly whitewashed and almost demolished walls, one could imagine an excellent Andalusian historical building. After the purchase, the site was cleaned, and plans were made. A documentation search carried out discovered the findings in the plans later studied. Mr. Byrne had an express wish to hire a local company. It was necessary to make workers aware of the importance of rehabilitation and train them technically in traditional construction methods.

The fortified estate was a 16th-century construction, located in an area reconquered in the Granada War and extended during the 18th century. It rises on a hill between the Serranía de Ronda and the Cadiz countryside, an almost obligatory route with human presence since prehistoric times. The building has a constructed area of ​​2,500 m2 occupying a floor area of ​​3,500 m2. It has an elongated rectangular shape in an east-west direction and is organized around two almost quadrangular courtyards. The western side is the main and oldest part; all the relevant rooms are distributed around it. The second is surrounded by unfinished buildings. The project ran between 1999 and 2008, fully funded by Mr. Byrne, without any official assistance. The result is a magnificent building that has recovered all its value and enriches the cultural and architectural heritage of Alcala del Valle.

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