Rehabilitation of Rubalcaba Housing / Carlos de Riaño Lozano

  • 06 Sep 2013
  • Houses Refurbishment Selected Works
© Miguel de Guzmán

Architects: Carlos de Riaño Lozano
Location: Rubalcaba, Cantabria,
Area: 700 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Miguel de Guzmán

Collaborators: Diego Henández, Jesus Rodriguez, Juana Jurado
Director: Carlos de Riaño Lozano, Patricia Hernández Tejada
Ejecution: Manuel Díaz Pardo
Builder: DOPRICAN, S.L.
Structures: Luis Cuevas
Engineer: Aguilera Ingenieros
Instalations: Instalaciones Barrojo
Locksmith: Talleres Jarama
Glasses: Vidrios COBO
Lighting: Ilumarte
Painting: Gomez y Gomez
Canteria: Piedras del Pas

© Miguel de Guzmán

From the architect. This plot is located in the Rubalcaba district of Liérganes and faces what was once the ancient “Camino Real” that ran parallel to what is now San Roque de Riomiera road.

Original Construction

One of the façades overlooks an open space which, by all appearances, was probably a square before the aforementioned road detached and sunk the magnificent chapel of Santa María La Blanca. It is a typically mountainous rural setting, quite distorted by the misguided intervention in the nearby buildings. Within a short distance of the town was this casona or large house, which belonged to the Rubalcabas in ancient times, and which is in the same district as the famous cross, chapel, mill and bridge over the River Miera. According to historical records and the foundations of at least two casonas that have been discovered, the district appears to have been more densely populated between the 17th and 19th centuries.

© Miguel de Guzmán

Several solutions were considered for this client, from the construction of a new one- or two-storey house on the slope of the hill to the restoration of the dilapidated building.

Approximately 120 years old, the house is of no artistic value, but it has the dignity of the anonymous and popular architecture that is so sought after today. It is also etched in the memories of many generations and its demolition, therefore, would have altered the landscape even more. It was for this reason that it was eventually decided to maintain and restore it.

© Miguel de Guzmán

However, the design we had in mind could not be accommodated in the interior. It worked perfectly well as a main building, but two pavilions had to be added to cater to the client’s needs. Therefore, a pavilion was built on either side of the main building: one, with a square plan and two floors, to house the garage and a library, and another, with a rectangular plan and two storeys, to accommodate the utilities, a wine cellar and the guestrooms. The slope of the terrain half buries these volumes which are arranged like natural platforms and open directly onto the back garden – via the guest pavilion in the first case – and via the sun terrace/bridge in the case of the main building.

© Miguel de Guzmán

The idea of extending the volume of the main building was dismissed in favour of adding two extensions with separate uses and compositions but connected by bridges so as to have less of an impact on the rural surroundings. The result is a small complex in keeping with traditional mountain architecture. The house is accessed from the street via a walled yard around the old building and the garage/library pavilion. A covered space between the two affords the visitor a magnificent view of the “Peña Pelada” mountain before entering the house.

First Floor Plan
Cite: "Rehabilitation of Rubalcaba Housing / Carlos de Riaño Lozano" 06 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Croco Dile

    Out of trash you made gold !
    Great work !