University of Cartagena

The Local Administration of Murcia planned the rehabilitation of the area occupied by the former Military Barracks in Cartagena, which are deteriorated and not used. The Rehabilitation of the former Antigones Military Barracks for its use by the Polytechnic University of Cartagena is part of this programme.


Issues and stakes

The damaged domes in the Antigones quarter, focal features of the urban space of Cartagena, have recovered their splendour after a slow and complex task of rehabilitation. Their coexistence with new glass and steel façades is intended to be the link between present and past, adapting to the technical and functional requirements of a school of Telecommunication. The project is the result of a reflection process that starts with a rigorous interpretation of the building and its spatial conditions directly linked to its structural and constructive properties, typical of a 18th century military building. After this initial reflection, the project addresses two objectives: firstly, the recovery of the three original North, South and East sections, which maintain their features (vaulted naves of three bays, sequenced in continuous spaces...) and secondly,  the creation of a new building on the West side, replacing an existing building, which, because it was not part of the original project, did not maintain its historical or constructive value.

" With regard to the recovery and adaptation of the existing buildings, intervention is considered once these are known about and in line with their scale and proportions. Rehabilitation and adaptation of the original building involves the consolidation and recovery of the areas that maintained their structural integrity (East and South sections) as well as the renovation of the areas that disappeared (North and Guard sections) creating new open-plan spaces that are adapted to the various major areas of the programme supplemented with small container rooms with various uses and that enhance the scale of the large vaulted space. The putative  two-tiered approach in the programme with regard to the use of space has now been firmed up, with the library, classrooms, laboratories, seminar and meeting rooms situated within the original structure (vaulted space module that varies according to zone), whilst for the smaller rooms, given the difficulty of integrating their scale and type into the existing container, it is proposed to build a new structure to contain offices, effectively making them more operational. The space available inside the original volume did not allow for the location of the entire programme, so the project aims to extend the built space outside the original perimeter surface, excavating the entrance courtyard. In this new volume large departmental areas for laboratories, workshops, etc. are distributed. 
The project explores the possibilities of projection beyond  the activity associated with a Polytechnic University and specifically to a Telecommunications School situated behind a façade of multilayer glass and an outer skin formed by a membrane of silk-screened flames that have a dual function: regulation of interior lighting and support of multiple and interactive information of university life.  It is, ultimately, a large communication panel between the university itself and the whole of the city, the modern and technological image of the university community integrated into the urban historical and cultural environment of the city of Cartagena."


For the façade lime mortar has been chosen because it fits perfectly with the existing masonry made of large square-cut stones (ashlar).The ancients walls of the building were stone masonry, bricks or a mixture of both. The new render permits to regularize the planimetry applying different thicknesses and it has also a good adherence to the different supports. For the façades the architect chose Floated finish and a colour similar to the existing stone. At the end, the lime mortar integrates the ancient construction and the new one into a unique architecture.