Tudela. Navarra

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Aire de Bardenas Hotel

Mónica Rivera y Emiliano López, arquitectos

FAD Awards finalist 2008  Architecture
Description Technical file

El Hotel Aire de Bardenas, proyectado en una sola planta y rodeado de naturaleza, se integra definitivamente en el paisaje, caracterizado por su gran austeridad. Se encuentra junto al Parque Natural de Bardenas Reales de Navarra y Reserva de la Biosfera. Y de forma horizontal se camufla entre campos de trigo, mostrando una solución innovadora, tanto desde el exterior como en el interior. Aparentemente, una hilera de cubos o cajas de madera que albergan habitaciones con vistas panorámicas. Se trata de espacios para contemplar el exterior de la forma más protegida posible, frente a la virulencia del Cierzo.

Immersed in an imposing landscape and with the powerful presence of the north-west wind (Cierzo), the hotel is conceived as a succession of protected and comfortable interior spaces from which to contemplate the exterior.
This is a four-star hotel situated in a wheat field at a distance of three kilometres from the old district of Tudela and in the vicinity of the Bardenas Reales of Navarre, a natural park with spectacular desert landscapes. The hotel is a one-storey construction with twenty-two rooms, thirteen of which have a private garden.
The structure of the building is steel, and the whole was dry built except for the concrete flooring. The facades are composed of sandwich panels in order to meet the limited budget and to reduce execution times. The hotel is therefore presented as a lightweight, dismountable and recyclable construction associated with the farm buildings found in the area.
From the outside, the building blends into the surroundings. Boxes that are habitually used in the area to collect and transport fruit and vegetables form the principal facade of the hotel. They are used as enclosures and windbreaks for the hotel’s exterior spaces, as they stop the wind but allow the air through, do not require foundations or fixings, are easy to move and are economical.

The hotel
In its implantation, the hotel retains the shape of the noble constructions of La Ribera that develop around a central courtyard, thus offering protection from the weather. Thus, this courtyard is formed by a series of orthogonal constructions that turn their back to the Cierzo wind and open up to the south-east, where a poplar grove has been planted and where the swimming pool is located.
The building is composed of a series of simple, monochrome, cubic structures. Its disperse position allows a view through the interstitial spaces, minimising a massive aspect and generating a play of light and shadow.
Crossing an orderly plantation of cherry trees, the principal body of the complex is accessed. It houses the communal areas –reception, main sitting room, boardroom, bar and restaurant- and ten rooms with their own courtyard and fruit tree. The rest of the rooms are freestanding pavilions with large projecting windows that look out on to the field. These rooms are accessed via an outdoor walkway that gives them a private and privileged character, as they are immersed in the landscape.
The exterior spaces reflect the characteristic shapes, colours and vegetation of the Bardenas desert and of the irrigable lands: tree and wheat plantations, vegetable gardens and the aromatic rosemary and thyme plants that dot them. The exterior surfaces are covered in the draining granite earth of the area and in large pebbles taken from the site that delimits the perimeter of the wheat field. The same stone in a smaller size was also used as polished exposed aggregate to cover the concrete flooring both indoors and out, resulting in a finish that recalls the ground of the Bardenas desert.
The architecture, the interiors and the gardens seek to approach the rural character and the beauty of the austere surrounding landscape, offering an uncluttered, simple and silent ambience of rest and comfort.

At the entrance to the rooms is a vestibule with a freestanding, open unit that provides a robust and ample space for leaving one’s belongings, thus preventing an invasion of the view of the rest area. This unit houses the mini-bar, safe and shelving with sockets for recharging electronic devices.
The lavatory occupies a separate space, while the shower/bath sits next to a window (or door in the case of rooms with patio) and adjacent to the bed area, separated by light white cotton curtains.
The baths, shower trays and washbasins –made from folded and enamelled sheet metal- as well as most of the furniture (beds, tables, stools, chairs, armchairs in the sitting room, wardrobes) were designed and developed by the architects exclusively for this project.

The habitable window
In order to emphasise the idea of rooms as protected vantage points, projecting windows have been designed without the frame visible from the interior. The depth of the window has been exaggerated and clad on the inside in plywood to allow them to be occupied. This lining conceals the frame and the filtering, darkening roller blinds that are lowered by motorised control. In the daytime the window is perceived as a simple glass-free opening that creates a false perception of thickness, not inherent to the lightweight construction used.
These projecting windows, “chatting windows” sometimes, become nooks in which to read, watch the TV integrated in the laterals or contemplate the exterior. They also fulfil the function of sofa and daybed. They mainly face north-east to enable the guest to watch the illuminated landscape without the glare of direct sunlight.

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Emplazamiento: Carretera de Ejea NA-125 km 1,5. 31500 Tudela, Navarra. Autores: Mónica Rivera y Emiliano López, arquitectos. Colaborador: Gillermo Zuaznabar. Equipo: María E. Seligra, Carla Isern, Karen Pinheiro, Gerard Bartomeu, Alba García. Constructor: Alejandro Ahedo. Diseño gráfico hotel: Lamosca. Promotor: Aire de Bardenas. Fotografía: José Hevia.
Mónica Rivera
Emiliano López