Fernando Alda Fotografía

Water Museum in Lanjarón

Renovation of an old water mill, Lanjarón, Grenada

Text: Juan Domingo Santos, architect

Photography: Fernando Alda

The town of Lanjaron is located on the southern slope of Sierra Nevada. Known for its craftsmanship, the production of quality honey and its healing waters, it is one of the most renowned resorts in Spain.

The museum project began with a search for a place promoting the presence of water in natural conditions. The chosen plot is located in the access to Sierra Nevada Natural Park, by the river Lanjarón and an irrigation ditch that runs along old buildings formerly used as municipal slaughterhouses. The intention of locating the museum in this space was to protect the area from the real estate speculation by creating a new intinerary that connects the new functions with the existing water infrastructure and with old buildings such as mills near the river and an old public lavatory.

Given the scarce resources available, the intervention consisted of recycling and reuse of the existing architecture and other elements of the environment with environmental criteria. The idea was to give priority to the use of existing resources, which facilitates its maintenance and sustainability. The hall of the old slaughterhouse, for example, has been adapted to its new museum use, and has been incorporated into the new facility collecting the water from the ditch and the river through a simple system of water plates connected to each other and regulated by the watering schedule. In front there is a little orange trees square set on a slightly elevated ground, made of a stack of prefabricated concrete elements and eucalyptus logs of different sizes that are temporarily flooded with water from the ditch, which sets up a space with different look throughout the day. The shade and the smell of orange blossom, the sound of water falling on the trunks of the pond and the reflections of water flooding the square, create a refreshing atmosphere before entering the museum.

The entry occurs occupying the courtyard of the old slaughterhouse with a new wood construction. The pavilion houses a representative space dedicated to water and becomes a landmark in the landscape. The building evokes the covering of the Fountain of the Capuchin, an eighteenth century building in wood that housed inside the first water birth in Lanjaron. The new pavilion is designed as a space for the senses, suspended in the air with two openings that allow visitors to get inside and participate in the effects of light and darkness. A sheet of water spread on the ground further reinforces these feelings, similar to those of the Islamic baths.


Intervention on all ships returned to their original state through the demolition and cleanup of bodies and other elements added as walls closing, stairs and infrastructure, built to bring the mill to the slaughterhouse. A folded sheet covering replaces the old cement deck, your profile highlighting the shapes of the existing buildings in the courtyard. To record the subsequent actions remain slightly recessed in the walls of the blinded windows forms, using them to access the interior of the museum.

Secondary buildings and pens are as they were. The intervention in them is reduced to the opening of a vertical hole in its front wall to ventilate the interior space. In later phases will be incorporated as a water bar on the premises. To give a sense of continuity to a whole have covered all the facades with white lime plaster in the area, including stairs that ascend from the square of orange to the ditch. A slightly raised platform of precast concrete patio extends around the square of logs.

Intervention in the interior of the old buildings has been minimal and involved the demolition of the divisions exposing the structure of walls and roofs. During the work could discover the structure that originally belonged to a previous set of water mills with a brick tower ancient distillery, so that the recovery has taken on a archaeological. The actions of cleaning the inside of these areas have enabled us to recover the original structure of the walls, exposing successive layers and construction techniques due to the different uses. Abroad, an old brick arch on the white facade of limestone relief drawing the shape of an ancient hidden access to the expansion of slaughter.

The exhibition areas are arranged by selective occupation of the interior of the old buildings, leaving unused pens and other agencies to future interventions. To contrast the stone and brick walls of the old mill new intervention, are arranged in a localized trasdosados ​​white panels that frame the exhibition places. The two main buildings are used for audio-visual rooms and a third thematic exhibition content. The oldest glass vessel with projections on its surface emerges from the ground flooded with water from the ditch, creating a play of reflections on the ancient walls of the mill.


Water from Sierra Nevada is channeled into the river environment through Lanjaron and an irrigation ditch that feeds into a public washroom and platforms near the valley farm. The museum is structured around these historical paths that link the three new sheets of water connected and supplied by the irrigation ditch. The filling of these ponds is produced according to the criteria for opening and closing of the irrigation system farm fields next, through two leads made on the channel empties into a wooden pavilion and a plaza lined with orange. A pipe for conducting alcohol an old sugar factory has been recycled as a stream of water in this space. Inside, one of the vessels recovered for the museum is flooded with excess water from the wooden pavilion. The natural water cycle is closed in the orange square which leads back to the river to continue their Lanjarón way to the sea.


The area in front of the museum consists of 17 orange shade and a soil of eucalyptus logs temporarily flooded by water from an irrigation ditch from Sierra Nevada. The logs were taken from fallen trees in the park after a flurry of air, cut and recycled with different sizes have banded together to form a pavement 20 inches in height that allows the passage of water between them. The wood surface, the emerging orderly orange, changes appearance according to the flow of the ditch. In times of low flow becomes a place accessible to children’s play under the trees, with abundant flow while the square is flooded into a mirror that reflects what is happening around. The sheet of water spread on the trunks of wood gives an unreal to the old buildings that seem to float as water rescue ruins emerge from underground. The physical changes of this space motivated by the rising or decreases the flow of water from the ditch, also produce other effects, and freshen the air or provide a warm feeling to be exposed trunks.


The museum works have been carried out by a company of people with the help of local people involved with your heritage and landscape. The municipal gardener, who should be the rug eucalyptus wood floor, was the person responsible for recycling of fallen trees after a storm that hit the park for days natural. A work is complemented by the others who contributed information and knowledge about the history of the place, and the components of the architecture studio which made the project, who moved to Lanjarón to carry out the tasks of placing the logs. The recovery of the old mill aims to be this way in a participatory community, a landmark in the city’s cultural identity that promotes environmental awareness and its history and improved social cohesion. The project also contains the story of a larger story, as 17 forming the square orange, 17 stories about people involved in the town of Lanjaron and the water. The fact of building a museum, “together” has allowed the recovery of this space is understood as its own assets involving the public in different ways, from children to the elderly, that contribute to the dissemination of a living history to new visitors.

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15 July, 2011 · Published in architectural photography, architectural photographer, architectural photographer, new reports

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Ferando Alda

Professional photographer since 1981, specializes in photography of architecture and infrastructure from 1987. My stories recorded works of great interest and uniqueness, documenting its construction and final state. My studio is developing a high quality work in editing analog and digital images. This material, exceeding seven thousand reports, is consulted regularly by publishers around the world, being published monthly in books and magazines and foreign.


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