Synagogue Square: Expanding Urban Space

CEL-RAS Arquitectos | el fabricante de espheras | Grupo Aranea

Architects: Grupo Aranea, el fabricante de espheras and CEL-RAS Arquitectos
Location: Onda, Spain
Year: 2020
Photography: Milena Villalba and Claudia Gimeno

An Andalusian pond from the 12th century and the remains of a later Gothic intervention have been recovered to expand the rich urban space of the historic center of Onda.

The excavated space, delimited by robust masonry walls, is the remains of a large 12th-century Andalusian pond, which appeared buried almost 5 meters below the ground. The bases of as series of ashlar arches and a Gothic staircase indicate that it was later reused in Christian times as a civil or religious building in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Our project proposes to reconnect the two levels of the urban space: the lower archaeological space and the floating wooden plaza above it.

Halfway between civil engineering and crafts, the structure was built and assembled in the workshop to later be cut apart, galvanized, and assembled on site. During the work, the pond became an open-air carpentry workshop and the construction of the wooden floor, a work of craftsmanship.

A smooth ramp connects to the lower space. A manual ceramic pavement is laid on the floor of the old pond, an interpretation of the compacted clay pavement found there. The pond recovers the memory of the water.

The wooden plaza continues the surrounding streets and allows us to pass over the archaeological space. Below, the shadows of the wooden strips projected onto the ceramic pavement create textures that move with the sun.