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A Garden for the Albayzin: Modern Art and Craft Museum, Granada

Part 2 Project 1999
Rebecca Huggins
University of Bath, UK

An initial urban strategy, which addressed the verdant nature of the Albayzin by creating a route of gardens and open areas to complete the intimate network of small and informal urban spaces, formed the basis from
which the Museum was designed.


By absorbing the culture in which the site lies, by comprehending the history and 'memory' related to the site and by acknowledging indigenous characteristics, the museum building becomes a culmination of the essence of its surroundings. It is a building which attempts to achieve a dialogue with
both immediate and broader surroundings and thus develop integrity.

"A truly open museum, serving as a refreshing oasis in the midst of the dry, hot climate and an arbour of peace to stimulate the spirit of creativity in present and future generations."

The Arts form an integral part of Andalucien culture, yet they rely heavily on historical references. The proposal of a modern Art and Craft Museum aims to prevent stagnation by bringing a modern emphasis to the area whilst maintaining its powerful character.


To maintain the proportions of the staircase and the narrowness of routes within the Albayzin, the museum forms a hard edge to the stairs. A tumbling, terraced garden which is visible intermittantly from the stairs, forms the southern part of the scheme, and in accordance with the urban proposal, makes a green area re-accessible. The contrast in scales evident between the upper and lower ands of the site, is acknowledged by placing the smaller galleries, for the exhibition of arts and crafts at one end, whilst the
larger mass of the art gallery responds to the more modern town. The tallest and most dominant part of the scheme, the 'wall' evoking a memory of the ancient city wall which used to un down the site, serves several purposes. It forms the main vertical circulation spine, in addition to housing
galleries, and enables the exhibition spaces to connect through to the
gardens by providing shading from direct sunlight.

The four layers of the scheme; the existing stairs, the galleries, the 'wall' and the garden are in constant interplay with one another, and connections between all four elements lock the building to the surroundings
and root it to the site.

The gardens permeate the wall and water flows into the gallery spaces creating rooms which are not confined but exist in harmony with the natural surroundings. This relationship enables the visitors route to meander in and out of the gardens as an extension of the gallery route.

The 'wall', with natural daylight and sunlight flowing in, colourful small exhibition rooms culminating the route at each level and shimmering reflections of the water will fill the space with animation and movement in
contrast to the serenity of the galleries and the gardens to either side.

Rebecca Huggins

The M.Arch design studio at the University of Bath school of Architecture is concerned with Architecture in the urban context. The task in the final year of study is to design an accomplished and well integrated piece of Architecture in the context of a European city, well founded, meticulously worked out and well presented.

The students are required initially to prepare in teams an Urban study comprising an historical, geographical cultural and physical context study, analyse and evaluate the findings and propose in response an urban design strategy within which an Architectural proposition can be put forward.

This year's project took place in Granada, Spain.

Elantha Evans teamed up with Rebecca Huggins, who together produced an admirable scheme for a part of the Historic City of Granada.

I wish to nominate Rebecca Huggins because she rose to the challenge and produced an exhilarating piece of Architecture.

Having worked with Rebecca Huggins for two years, I can say that she is a young Architect with natural exuberant talent. She 'makes' her buildings (she is also a prize winning potter) in a way particular to herself. She will produce happy buildings.

• Page Hits: 1680         • Entry Date: 08 January 1999         • Last Update: 10 May 2001