Completion Date: January 2016


San Miguel Square Refurbishment, Talavera de la Reina, Spain
OOIIO Architecture

The main intention of this urban intervention is to revitalize a degraded public space thanks to the reinterpretation of local traditional pottery, normally used in objects, now applied to an urban scale.

OOIIO Architecture won First Prize in open architectural competition with its proposal for the Refurbishment of San Miguel Square in Talavera de la Reina, Spain, creating a simple urban corner open to all residents, destined to become a new landmark for the city, thanks to the contemporary and fresh use of the traditional and well-known Talavera´s pottery tiles. A symbolic material deeply rooted in local culture, important for its inhabitants.

The Renaissance strong yellow and blue colours mix, its traditional drawings as well as the ancient local crafty way of working with the ceramics made this project a unique combination of tradition and modernity, colour and public space.

Before the architect’s intervention, the square was a residual urban space, not accessible for elderly or disabled people and used as informal parking.

With a few simple interventions they turned this space into one of the most attractive squares in the city.

Although the goal is to recycle the horizontal plane of the square, the architect preferred to concentrate the bulk of the intervention in the vertical plane, since they find there the presence of big grey dividing walls from tall buildings giving the back to the square, making people understand that they are on a “back of house” urban plot, a secondary zone, so this urban space use to be always degraded.

We left the horizontal plane as accessible and comfortable as possible for pedestrians reducing traffic to a defined track, protecting the main open space for pedestrians with concrete benches, specifically designed and located to contemplate the great wall of Talavera´s pottery that will completely change the look of the square forever, becoming one of the most revered places in the city.

The strong and visual intervention in the vertical plane will contribute to recover and enhance the existing medieval tower of the ancient wall, which was being lost in between grey buildings competing in height with it.

It will be now highlighted together with the ceramic mosaic. Its colours and drawings are the same that the Renaissance craftsman use to work with on its domestic objects, and was cooked and drawn by hand tile after tile, up to 6.500 pieces.

San Miguel Square changed radically thanks to OOIIO´s intervention. It used to be a degraded parking and is today something special, worthy to be seen for visitors and city inhabitants.

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