hospedería in herrera del duque







     Miguel Zaballa Architect

competition lemma: open cloister

1rst prize








Mr. Saturnino Alcázar Vaquerizo Mayor of Herrera del Duque

Mr. Antonino Antequera Regaladoa Architect designated by the Town Council

Mr. Emilio Tuñón Architect designated by the Tourism & Culture Council

Mr. José Morales Architect designated by the Tourism & Culture Council

Mr. Juan Ignacio Mera Architect designated by the Tourism & Culture Council

Mr. José María Sánchez García Architect designated by the Tourism & Culture Council

Mr. Fco Javier Jiménez Architect Dean of the Architects Chamber of Extremadura

Mr. José María Sánchez García Architect designated by the Tourism & Culture Council

Mr. José Antonio Galván Blanco head of the projects and construction works department of the Tourism & Culture Council

Ms. Rosalía Puertas head of the tourism business and activities of the Tourism & Culture Council


DATE of the competition: JUNE 2010



In 2010 the regional authority of Extremadura convened an international ideas competition to rehabilitate the renaissance Franciscan convent of Saint Jerome into a hostelry in the village of Herrera del Duque.

The Government of Extremadura has two objectives: restore the architectural heritage and promote the tourism in the region. And thereby it promotes a network of public hotels, one of which is the Hostelry in Herrera.


The convent is located in the southeast end of the town. Herrera del Duque is a village with narrow streets, white and homogeneous architecture.

The convent due to the passing of time and diverse vicissitudes, especially from the confiscation of Mendizabal (1836), no longer was inhabited and became a private property. It has come down to us blurred and in a state of considerable deterioration.


The public Administration is been able to take ownership of the church and part of the original nursing of the convent.

The rest of the existent, (interstitial) remain in private hands as houses.



[In fuchsia colour the pre-existent which property has been regained by the public authorities]

There is no physical connection between the original church and the convent.

The plot, with a 7.000 m² surface, has a south upslope and views towards the castle which overlooks Herrera from the top of the opposite hill.

Only the church faces the street. And there is no physical connection between the intervention pieces.

In the urban planning it is defined a square at the rear of the convent over which hovers a sequence of endowments. The guesthouse also faces this square.


Considering all these factors, we face the project as a rehabilitation project.

And we propose to retrieve the cloistered type by building a new cloister and adopting a clear rehabilitation strategy: the use of contrasting language, with easy reading of the scope of the intervention.

We propose a new square plan cloister, of internal dimensions 36x36 m, which houses the bulk of the residential hotel program. So the original Renaissance pieces are free to embrace the social components of the program.

The promoter made the stand about the condition that from every room the castle was seen. Therefore we turn the upper floor of the new cloister.

The disposition of the new cloister respects free the platform of the original one, nowadays lost. This platform is connected with the street and rear of the convent and becomes the welcome space both for guests clients and visitors.




The insertion of the new cloister with its volume, retrieves the physical relationship between all parts.


While continuity is respected in the surrounding outdoor areas, with the gradient based on usage: transit area, welcome platform, resting garden.

We order the rooms online on each arm and we gravitate the aisles always northwest, so that all rooms have visual towards the castle.

The seat to an intermediate level of plot, allows continuous transition from the street to the interior plaza (original cloister) and delimits a central garden for the enjoyment of the hotel guests.


The raised arms indicate, without interrupting the passage, arrival at the convent.





Summary of the principles of the proposal:

●  Respect for the image of the set on which intervenes.

● Preservation of the original style of the Convent and Church.

● Overlay. Clear picture of the proposed interventions allowing immediate reading of the overlying strata. Figure - Fund.

● Finding quality of the spaces that are to be enjoyed from the inside to the outside. Search feeling of peace and quiet.

● Clear Circulations.

● Unique management of the building.


In the area of intervention are two parts, the existing building and the clearance of land open to the landscape.

The existing building is replicated on the western edge of the plot to merge with the surrounding residential plot. Only the church is visible to the street facade.


In the urban planning a square at the rear of the convent over which hovers a sequence of endowments is defined. The guesthouse also faces this square and there is located the main entrance through the footprint of the old building.


The new square reinforces the transversality of the plot that also has connection with Convent Street, a new front to the new square and towards the landscape.

Two static fields are generated: the anteroom outside the existing building in the lower deck and a new area on the upper platform, and between the two, a cross-connection.


The new guesthouse respects the architectural value of the historic heritage on which the intervention takes part and tries to mean minimum impact safeguarding the relationship of the building with the church, and the set with the new square and woof of the city to the countryside.



The project preserves the convent building with its original typological order and  superimposes a new cloister.

Two floors around a central cloister.

An extension that links to the sacristy and the former Franciscan convent infirmary.


The cloister is inserted along the axes of the church and the old convent.

The upper floor is rotated to capture the landscape from its four wings, while this turn multiplies the shadows on the lower floor.

The extension connects  its two plants with the pre-existing and is adapted by bending to the topography.

The topographic adaptation to the upward slightly slope southward frees the ground plane on the angle of intersection of the new cloister and the hall of the old convent. This adaptation allows preserving the north-south cross-connection of the plot. And refolding the north end facilitates the relation with the  perimeter.



The hotel program integrates three units with appropriate connections that solve the functional aspects.

The church  houses the function room, the old convent the main access to the guest and their support spaces, and the new cloister the room program and general service of the inn.


The new square central cloister adapts to the topography slightly upward, so that is separated from the lower level of access from the Convent street. This gesture allows to qualify the free outdoor areas and preserve the central garden  from the transverse circulations.

It generates a static field of inner contemplation and a boundary area that addresses the connections between the opposite sides of the plot  allowing the private vehicular traffic and pedestrian public transit.


The central garden is open at the northwest corner towards the original cloister platform  of the old convent through a folding plane that resolves the height difference and preserves its privacy.


This gesture seeks to reinforce the original typological space, solve new arising relations in the implementation of the new program.  Its different treatment allows an immediate reading of the scope of the intervention stratum preserving the original building and its urban relationships.


It is intended for special celebrations hall. It maintains its functional Independence and access as the singular piece of the complex.

Support elements are located under the chorus.

The service areas area located in the sacristy on two floors so they are directly accessible from the outside and from the main kitchen.



It is located in the renovated nursery of the Renaissance convent, with direct relation with the platform of the lost original cloister.

Around the access, the reception, the luggage room and the principal core are distributed.


The convent houses the social spaces closed to the main lobby. The main hall occupies the upper floor of the original building. The cafeteria is on the ground floor accessible from the old cloister platform.


The cloister is the backbone of the program and space around him gravitate common parts endowments and general program on the lower floor, and the rooms on the top floor.

Also works as a vacuum cloistered bioclimatic mechanism facilitating cross ventilation between facades of opposite sunlight, thus favoring thermal tempering.



Restaurant. At the southern end f the ground floor of the new cloister, open to the garden and the perimeter landscaping, protected from basking by the displacement of the top floor. The restaurant is accessible from the square and from the internal circulation around the cloister with a core that connects the rooms with and the garden on ground floor.


The kitchen. It is located on the lower floor of the new cloister, with direct contact with the restaurant and the celebrations hall.

Staff canteen, changing rooms, laundry and general store complete the northern area.

Under the common service area accessible from the lower platform, general facilities are place along with the loading and parking area.


Located on the top floor with the best views towards the surrounding landscape and the castle from the four arms around the cloister due to the rotation of this floor over the lower one.

Besides annular circulation around the four cloister arms, the hallways are opened to the diagonals of the lower deck offering alternative routes and additional resting areas.


The spa is located in the basement floor with overhead lighting from the central garden. The vertical core of the room programme connects the rooms with the spa.


The location of the exterior pool in the central garden facilitates the restricted access without generating easements. Around the pool permanent sunny areas are guaranteed accompanied by shadow for rest.


Next to the access to the convent from the Street, on the platform along the northern alignement of the plot.



On the sections it is seen the edges heterogeneity and the various changing conditions as a result of the rotated superposition.




Structure: double steel drawer. 7 meters beams define by the sequence 3,20/1,20 m (corresponding to the rooms rhythm) and principal trusses along exterior alignments.

As the geometry of the top drawer laying over the other is not symmetrical, the result of the trusses bar is not absolutely regular, but some randomness is introduced in the bar arrangement related with the asymmetry of the stresses.

The compressed bars are in the short lengths and the stretch ones in the long ones. This provision is related with the rooms sequence: the short lengths correspond to the bath surface front, and the long ones to the resting area of each room.




As solar energy regulator and as modeller of the abstract image a continuous white textile fabric (micro well polyester pleat) is displayed. So the building is read from the outside like a smooth volume, whereas from the inside the transparency and visuals are preserved through a veiling.



Special Interventions / the church.

The church is the singular historical piece. Thereby is also intended for the singular element of the social programme of the hotel, the celebrations hall.

The church, in its nowadays status, has two major shortcomings: three components  of the central dome are lost, and there is no staircase to access to the choir balcony as it has been inscribed into one of the  private dwellings attached.

We propose to use the same synthetic language strategy to solve these two deficiencies. We propose to insert a hanging latticework reproducing the same semi-circular geometry of the disappeared dome and extend it in one side to hold the stairs.

The lattice filters the light that comes in through the continuous roof light to illuminate the entire hall.