Restoration of Medieval Spanish Castle Sparks Outrage and Debate

It’s safe to say we can all agree that the preservation of historic ruins is a worthwhile effort, but just how it’s done is proving to be a point of contention for residents in the southern Spanish town of Villamartín.

As reported by The Independent, El Castillo de Matrera (Matrera Castle) has stood atop a grassy hill near Villamartín since the 9th century. It’s been a national monument since 1949, and when rainfall and floods caused extensive damage in 2013, plans to renovate the privately owned castle were already in motion. Those plans were tweaked to accommodate the new state of things, but the result has set off a fierce debate. Both locals and conservators are now arguing over whether the project, with its incorporation of new materials to secure the remains, has in fact ruined the castle.

Cultural heritage association Hispania Nostra called the restoration “truly lamentable” in a post on its website, but architect Carlos Quevedo Rojas, who oversaw the project, told The New York Times that it was approved ahead of time by town authorities as well as the culture and environment departments of the Andalusia government.

“I understand the criticism of local people used to seeing the tower look a certain way,” he told the paper, “but the principal objective was to prevent the collapse of the structure.”

Quevedo Rojas continued: “You can’t make the structure have the same appearance as the original. You can’t falsify the appearance. It has to be clear which parts are new and which are old.”

Another defense of the renovation: it met its three basic goals to “to structurally consolidate those elements that were at risk; to differentiate new additions from the original structure—thus avoiding imitative reconstructions that are prohibited by the law; and to recover the volume, texture and tonality that the tower would originally have had,” Quevedo Rojas told The Guardian.

The incident has prompted many to draw comparisons to another Spanish preservation fiasco: In 2012, 83-year-old Cecilia Giménez tried to restore a fresco of Jesus and the resulting work became an Internet meme and an attraction in its own right.

[h/t The Independent]

Banner image via Twitter.

Pop Chart Lab
150 Northeast Lighthouses in One Illustrated Poster
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

Some of the world's most beautiful and historic lighthouses can be found in the American Northeast. Now, Pop Chart Lab is releasing an illustrated poster highlighting 150 of the historic beacons dotting the region's coastline.

The 24-inch-by-36-inch print, titled "Lighthouses of the Northeast," covers U.S. lighthouses from the northern tip of Maine to the Delaware Bay. Categorized by state, the chart features a diverse array of lighthouse designs, like the dual towers at Navesink Twin Lights in New Jersey and the distinctive red-and-white stripes of the West Quoddy Head Light in Maine.

Framed poster of lighthouses.
Pop Chart Lab

Each illustration includes the lighthouse name and the year it was first lit, with the oldest lighthouses dating back to the 1700s. There's also a map in the upper-left corner showing the location of each landmark on the northeast coast.

Chart of lighthouses.
Pop Chart Lab

The poster is now available to preorder for $37, with shipping set to start March 21. After memorizing every site on the chart, you can get to work exploring many of the other unique lighthouses the rest of the world has to offer.

ICON, New Story
These $10,000 Concrete Homes Are 3D-Printed in Less Than 24 Hours
ICON, New Story
ICON, New Story

What makes housing so expensive? Labor costs, for one. According to a 2014 Census Bureau survey, the average single-family home takes about six months to construct, and that's a lot of man-hours. A new type of home from Austin, Texas-based startup ICON and the housing nonprofit New Story is hoping to change that. Their homes can be built from the ground up in 12 to 24 hours, and they cost builders just $10,000 to construct, The Verge reports.

ICON's construction method uses the Vulcan 3D printer. With concrete as the building material, the printer pipes out a structure complete with a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and porch that covers 600 to 800 square feet. That's a little less than the size of the average New York apartment and significantly larger than a typical tiny home.

The project, which was revealed at this year's SXSW festival in Austin, isn't the first to apply 3D printing to home construction. Moscow, Beijing, and Dubai are all home to structures assembled using the technology. What makes ICON and New Story's buildings remarkable is what they intend to do with them: Within the next 18 months, they plan to set up a community of 100 3D-printed homes for residents of El Salvador. If that venture is successful, the team wants to bring the printer to other places in need of affordable housing, including parts of the U.S.

ICON wants to eventually bring the $10,000 price tag down to $4000. The 3D-printed houses owe their affordability to low labor costs and cheap materials. Not only is cement inexpensive, but it's also sturdier and more familiar than other common 3D-printed materials like plastic. The simple structure also makes the homes easy to maintain.

“Conventional construction methods have many baked-in drawbacks and problems that we’ve taken for granted for so long that we forgot how to imagine any alternative,” ICON co-founder Jason Ballard said in a release. “With 3D printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near-zero waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability."

After printing and safety tests are completed, the first families are expected to move into their new 3D-printed homes sometime in 2019.

[h/t The Verge]


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