SOMOS.arquitectos proposal for a new hotel in Herrera del Duque (Badajoz).

A SQUARE, A GARDEN, FIVE LATTICED BLOCKS.Following a first reading of the proposed site, settled within the limits of the small village of Herrera del Duque, its clear boundary condition stands out. We incorporate this issue into the project, trying to provide a strong response to the new Hotel program. -In the northwest edge, precisely where the accesses occur, the plot is in contact with the established urban fabric and its public spaces which articulate the population movements. A narrow street network leads to a single point of access to the plot. - The East boundary, at a higher point, is characterized by its landscape, dominated by olive fields, and chaired by the castle at the top of the hill. Both levels engage a dialogue along the plot, as we propose to carve and model its line of contact, differentiating a PLAZA space which results as an appendix to the existing road, and a garden space, on a higher level, establishing visual and physical continuity with the landscape and the surrounding agricultural area. In this way, we also take advantage of the existing natural topography, making a controlled excavation in order to settle a higher level which will work as a natural extension of the rear edge. There are three levels of use, in response to a rising scale of privacy and relationship with the environment: 

 1. A SQUARE: The first level is understood as an extension of the urban space entering the plot. Thus we imagine a new square, embraced by the public program (reception, cafeteria, halls ...). From this plaza level all accesses will occur independently (hotel, celebration halls, personnel access, parking ...). 

 2. A GARDEN: in continuity with the valley of olive trees, we create a second level to be used as a private garden, specifically designed to fulfill the enjoyment of the guests, which also serves as the roof for the public spaces of the lower level. A place for recreation visually merging with the surrounding landscape views overlooking the castle. 

 3. FIVE LATTICED BLOCKS: a third level receives the housing program oriented to the south, with lights and views taking advantage of the landscape. Three major latticed-bridges contain the rooms, which in turn provide shelter and shade to the plaza level right below. Vertical cores connect these beams with the public areas of the program. To the north, the fourth latticed block houses the main restaurant also covering the access to the plaza. Finally, the fifth latticed block, acts a as call of attention about what happens inside, solving the access to the celebration halls and the choir level, positioned in the side wall of the church. As a result of the overlap of the three programmatic levels, we provide rich trajectories and visual connections providing permeable spaces and shaping areas for relaxing and living in harmony with the surrounding environment. The resulting volumetric arrangement takes advantage of the existing topography and orientation which will also favor bioclimatic control based on passive means (shaded areas, natural cross-ventilation, vegetation and water hygrothermal control ...), achieving optimum comfort conditions. Similarly, we pursue a controlled visual impact in relation to the scale of the surrounding environment. We are confronting a series of low profile housing network set up within an irregular arrangement, and many of them acting as a dividing wall to the Northwest. Because of these reasons, we try to enhance the flatness of the routes and views, creating an interior landscape which is also opened to the southeast, whose conditions are dominated by the view free of buildings, except the castle, which stands as the focal point.