This one didn’t crumble. It just got cracked up



It’s only a thousand years old, so what’s the big deal? Constructed by the Arab leader Umar ibn Hafsun in the 9th century when Spain was overrun by the Moors, the Castillo de Matrera, many many years later, in 1985, would be declared a national monument. But the last thing that comes to mind when one looks at it since last Tuesday, 12 April 2016, after it has been “restored” by a team led by architect Carlos Quevedo, is a construction that forms part of the history of Spain.

As one publication put it, it looks like a 1960s car park!

The “restoration” of the Matrera Castle in the southern Spanish province of  Cadiz went viral, nationally, after the popular La Sexta TV channel showed the controversial job being done on the ancient fortress. The majority thought it was a mindless desecration of a piece of Spanish history.

CNN reported that it’s been dubbed a “massacre of cultural heritage.”

Hispania Nostra, a Spanish cultural heritage group, said t was “a scandal” and the Spanish people had “almost unanimously rejected it.”

Hispania Nostra said what they were calling “restoration” by the architects of the project headed up by Quevedo was “absolutely terrible.”

But, lo and behold, the castle make-over won the popular vote in Architizer A+’s preservation category. And it’s cracked up to be a prestigious international award too, the Architizer A+ awards being the largest online architectural awards program.


Featured image: the restored castle, courtesy the Museo de Villamartin, Cadiz