Sculptures and monuments

Platja de Migjorn, Formentera. Spain

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Restoration of the Fossar Vell de Sant Francesc Xavier

Marià Castelló Martínez

FAD Awards finalist 2017  City & Landscape
Description Technical file

The Jury’s appraisal: This delicate small-scale restoration of an 18th-century sacred place, which intentionally recognises, observes, investigates and enhances the urban cultural identity and morphology, is evaluated through the analysis and application of clear and precise criteria that point out the different states of this burial place, the “fossar”; for example, in the treatment given to the surface of part of the lime-rendered walls, which point out the different stages of the enclosure’s growth. It also occurs in the layout of the local ashlar stones dry-laid on pavement that establishes the hierarchy of the historical traces and which associate the space with its current immediate surroundings, instrumentalising the inside-outside relationship thanks to the new entrance gateway—the only differentiated intervention.
The Fossar Vell de Sant Francesc Xavier is a cemetery with a slightly distorted square ground plan, with 22-metre sides, enclosed by a 2-metre high masonry wall.
Inside are five funeral chapels, an ossuary, a storeroom and an area for other remains.
The historical and archaeological study carried out on the building provided the guidelines for some of the project’s solutions. In this regard, the decision was made to use a traditional limestone glaze to cover only the outer part of the walls and chapels erected after 1838, in other words, after the enlargement of the original enclosure (1757-1838). This procedure graphically reveals how the entrance frontispiece is centred on the south-east facade of the original site.
Through analysing the original 17th-century outlines of the Gracias Reales, it was concluded that the line connecting the first original Half-League landmarks, granted to Marc Ferrer in 1695, crosses the north-west end of the cemetery’s enclosure. It was sought for this oblique guideline to manifest itself in the interior of the site through a set of local (Marès) dry-fitted sandstone pieces, which shape a rest and contemplation area.
In order to achieve greater visual permeability even when the building is closed, as well as achieving greater depth and protection for those entering it, a door was designed using a different language and material to those of the historic building. Through the use of tiles made of local (Marès) sandstone, dry-fitted on the interior grounds of the cemetery, the imprint of the original boundary of the building is reflected.
From the rest area, the contemplation of the perimeter wall gives visitors a sense of cloistering, removing views of buildings that have little architectural and heritage value in order to draw attention to the epicentre of the Sant Francesc Xavier urban nucleus: the Church of Sant Francesc and the former town hall building. The various chapels of the east and west facades were simply consolidated structurally, preserving their woodwork, flooring, cladding and other original elements. On the roofs, the original tiles were recovered and reused once the necessary work was carried out to ensure the roofs were watertight.

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Localización Location: Platja de Migjorn, Formentera. Spain. Arquitecto Architect: Marià Castelló Martínez. Arquitecto técnico Quantity surveyor: Xico Ribas. Colaboradores Collaborators: Marga Ferrer, Natàlia Castellà y Jaume Escandell. Estructura Structure: Ferran Juan. Seguimiento arqueológico Archaeological Monitoring: María José Escandell. Promotor Developer: Consell Insular de Formentera. Constructora General Contractor: Refoart S.L. Superficie construida Built area: 232,92 m2. Proyecto Project: 2009-2015. Fecha de finalización de la obra Completion date of the works: 2016. Fotografía Photography: Marià Castelló.
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Restauración e intervención en patrimonio: Refoart
Marià Castelló
Formentera, Illes Balears
Marià Castelló