Girona medieval restoration | Anna Noguera

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Photography by Enric Duch


Girona medieval restoration | Anna Noguera

When Barcelona–based architect Anna Noguera stumbled upon this Spanish medieval 16th century townhouse in Catalonia, she was instantly intrigued by its rich heritage and ancient beauty.

The trapezoidal building had multiple piecemeal additions and a warren of apartments. Determined to rescue it from further decay, Noguera carefully restored the structure over 10 years.

Once construction was well underway, the team discovered the walls of a first-century Roman villa.


As the layers of complexity were contemplated and the restrictions on modifications in the old quarter were navigated – it was an amazing process to consider which history should be saved or restored. There were remarkable finds including Inscribed lintels named a 16th-century prior as creator of the building. Perfume bottles and ceramics were also unearthed, along with a cannon ball and bomb shard, likely of Napoleonic vintage.

Ten years later, the residence has been transformed into a series of clean, elegant spaces, relying on simple authentic materials - the sensitively integrated design brings the medieval home a fresh lease of life. The five-bedroom home has been planned to have the flexibility to be divided into two separate living spaces or rented as a whole. 

By scrapping partitions and repositioning the stairway, a palette of concrete and steel were used against the traditional stone, oak and terra cotta. VOLA was fitted throughout.


Noguera wanted to reinterpret the old through dialogue with the new in order to recuperate some of the original 16th-century character, which had a starkness that resonated with her minimalist style. An example is a weathered stone basin she found on site and installed beside the smooth concrete bathtub.


Even the centuries old rooftop porch is lined in local stone flecked with prehistoric fossils - these stones continue onto the beautifully tactile facade that was deliberately exposed, rather than stuccoed over, to reveal the surfaces original irregular stones.

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