„A place of quietude“ is the name title Armenteira Monastery (Mostero de Armenteira) gives itself. It is situated in the North of Spain close to the Atlantic Coast and was founded in the 12th century A.D. and is now populated by a brotherhood of Trapist Nuns.
Architect Mauro Lomba Martínez was entrusted with the task of building a hotel within view of the Monastery. Or to be precise: a Pousada, an accommodation with much folkloric charm away from the beaten track.
Mauro Lomba was the right man for the job. He had already proven his skills in respecting the symbiosis of people, their heritage and their land all the while heeding building ordinances and requirements.
The Pousada de Armenteira is terraced mirroring the meadows and gardens of the surrounding area. Stone and wood are predominant and catch the eye. Those parts the complex reserved to accommodate over-night guests are made of local limestone. The façade is positioned in front of the concrete and insulation layers. But Mauro Lomba did not use the standard square stone slabs.
Instead he chose to have the predominant lines run diagonally through the slabs and create a relief in horizontal direction respectively.
This, again, is a metaphor for the surrounding sites: the lines allude to trees in the mighty woods nearby and the relief is stylized bark.
The reliefs are worked by local stone masons. Mauro Lomba describes the background: such work „keeps the stonemason’s craft alive, which makes each piece unique and adds an emotional and artistic side”.
The rooms pick up some elements of the monastery’s interior design: in one part of the interior, the floor, the ceiling and the walls are stone clad and a stone bench provides seating.
The rooms are arranged around a central axis. A fire-place in the center provides warmth and type of community area.
The path to the complex is stone paved. The flooring shows the pathway to the church.
The top terrace houses a restaurant. Its material sublimely raises it above the weight of the stone: The gloss façade with high wooden panels casts a shadow on the room’s interior reminiscent of the Armenteiran woods. The shady area permits a thorough airing of the room.
There are pathways clad in wrought iron provide a hold for climbing plants. Glass roof structures capture the day and flood the interiors with light.
„When the morning fog clears, the monastery can be seen and you understand the tranquility of the place”, writes Lomba.
Photos: Vicente Fernandez Piedras-Imaxinemos, Adrián Capelo Cruz
(13.05.2016, USA: 05.13.2016)