Text description provided by the architects. The Museum Project was the result of anideas competition organized by the Hellín Municipality. The competition rules considered the refurbishment of the Casa del Conde as well as the construction of an extension on the plot area former occupied by some small service buildings of the house.
In the competition winning proposal we included the completely refurbished Casa del Conde as a part of the Museum. We even wanted to give it a main role, incorporating the former backyard facade as the background of the new main exhibition space. The inner court of the house played also a significant role as an exhibition area which established a relationship between the old and the new parts. The upper levels hosted an administration area and a library.
Nevertheless, at the time we developed the Project, and after a rigorous inspection of the building we confirmed that it was not possible to refurbish the whole house at a reasonable cost, so we decided to concentrate all the efforts in preserving and restoring the painted façade and those valuable elements (stone columns, ironworks,…)we could recover for the museum.
This way, the old façade, once disappeared the rest of the house, is no more only a construction element and becomes also a canvas, a decorated surface to be integrated in the museum as an exhibition object. Indeed a very special one, due to the decisive role it plays in the relation of the building with its surroundings (the Assumption Church) and with the city history and memory.
Despite the disappearing of the house, we preserve the volume occupied buy it, as a mechanism to adequate to the surroundings scale. The new building steps backwards, creating a small square in front of the main visitors access. Therefore the museum as a whole responds to a double urban scale, the close-scale of the street and the far-scale of the Church square. Besides the building adapts itself to the steep slope of the plot decreasing its height in the longitudinal section so that it keeps always the urban scale of the surrounding houses.
Another mechanism to integrate the building and give it a representative character is the use,for the facades, of the same local stone as the one of the nearby Church, keeping the museum into the chromatic spectrum f the historic centre.
In the inside, a white-concrete space, shaped by light, surrounds a sinuous way among the sculptures, which stand on several big wooden bases that organize the exhibition and contain the showcases for smaller objects. Therefore it happens just the opposite as in Easter, and in this case it is the visitor who wanders between the sculptures as he discovers them from different points.
The great scale of the main space, the intentional use of light and the construction with few and durable materials give the interior a character very appropriate for the important collection of religious sculptures to be exposed.