Variation of modes of use: functions, users, schedules, etc.

Relationship between the ownership and the form of the investment that allows the transformation

Variation of the overall dimensions of the building

Proportional relationship between new spaces and existing spaces

Relationship between the structural adjustments and the existing structure

Relationship between the forms and types of pre-existing materials and those of the new intervention

Relationship between the image of the new and the image of the existing (mimesis / contrast)


Murcia, Spain


Juan Navarro Baldeweg



Juan Navarro Baldeweg – Mills of the Segura river in Murcia

PROJECT - Main Infos

PROJECT: Juan Navarro Baldeweg – Mills of the Segura river in Murcia

LOCATION: Murcia, Spain

YEAR: 1989

ARCHITECT / FIRM: Juan Navarro Baldeweg

BUYER: Centro Cultural y Museo Hidráulico

SURFACE: 2.000 sqm

PRICE: € 1.000.000

The restoration of the Mills in their round prismatic form ensures the continuity of the cornice level by closing the circuit of both banks and the Old Bridge and the Walkway. On the flat roof of the Mills there is a promenade, a viewpoint over the river, which underlines the urban pedestal and the plane of the passers-by over the channelling walls near the Old Bridge. This high promenade serves as an access to an additional architectural development on the vertical of the rear canal, partly hiding it, which houses the rooms of the Culture Centre, a Public Library and a cafeteria-restaurant that benefit from the promenade and the terrace while guaranteeing the vitality of its use. Although the Museum and Culture Centre is on several floors and has access from the Plaza de la Bajada de los Molinos, this entrance from the high promenade gives independence to the functioning of the Library and the cafeteria-restaurant, which seems convenient in terms of functionality and timetables. The self-contained staircase also facilitates the closing between the two floors, reinforcing the functional independence of the activity on each floor.

WHAT - Program

PREVALENT CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The functional program remains predominantly the original one, with a limited new program.

The plans for the new Culture Centre and Hydraulic Museum reveal the way in which the continuous and linear scheme of the old Mills coexist with the formation of spaces that tend to emancipate and organise themselves as autonomous places. The Auditorium on the ground floor and the Library on the top are arranged around a vertical axis coinciding with a patio-lucernary that illuminates the reading rooms and leads light to the centre of the auditorium. The coexistence of a linear spatial fluidity and the creation of nuclei in the compositional elements are well appreciated in the sections and also in the general profile of the elevations. In the band seated on the plane the high promenade can be clearly distinguished, in spite of the constructive continuity, the sculptural and closed volume of the library and another, corresponding to the cafeteria-restaurant, which opens up in a staggered manner towards the promenade creating an appropriate place for outdoor use. These two forms, on the other hand, reflect a different inflection in terms of their spatial orientation. Although the Library advances slightly along the line of the raised promenade, its body is limited to the longitudinal direction of the set of the Mills. On the contrary, the volume of the cafeteria and restaurant is manifested with a transversal orientation gesture opening onto the terrace and overlooking the river towards the edge of the Town Hall.

WHO - Financing

TOTAL REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: Financing made entirely by an investor other than property.

Ministry of Public Works.

HOW MUCH - Absolute Dimensions


PREVALENT CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions increase moderately with respect to the pre-existing surface.


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions are equal to the pre-existing volume.

The alteration of the symmetry of these two bodies can therefore be appreciated, which clarifies the meaning of the activities carried out in them: the passive and interiorised mode of the library and the open, in its expansion to the outside, of the cafeteria-restaurant.

HOW MUCH - Relative Dimensions

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: There are no new spaces.

The composition and arrangement of gaps in the elevations, both North and South, also shows the conciliation of the linearity of the whole and the nuclei around the main activities. In the North elevation, the regular rhythm of the hollows corresponding to the water outlets in the lower part of the Mills, is agglutinated to the hollows grouped between pilasters in the upper part (which already announce in their grouping what happens in the recessed upper stratum) by means of the random punctation of the hollows that are now in the mezzanine of the Mills. In the South elevation, that of the ground floor of the Mills, the main nuclei of the internal three-dimensional organisation are also made legible through the composition of the windows and the entrance. The layout of the entrance reveals the crossroads of the paths from the descent to the square. The access doors are visible from the ramps and focus the direction of these descents.

HOW - Design Strategy STRUCTURE

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The original supporting structure is fully preserved and there are no new structures.

The aim is to rigorously restore the original physical order of the Mills and, at the same time, to freely propose the construction of an addition that, without substantially disturbing this basic image, would allow the best use of the Centre.

HOW - Design Strategy MATERIAL

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The materials chosen for the new intervention are similar to the pre-existing ones.

Therefore, the rehabilitation, partly purist, does not deny the same cumulative reason that gave rise to the spontaneous growths of the Mills from the nineteenth century. The relationship between the historical or traditional and the present also admits being visible in a stratified form.

HOW - Design Strategy IMAGE

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The new intervention is in total mimetic continuity with the existing structures.

Both criteria, of rigour and freedom, would support the generation of urban life that the Centre and Museum, in its form and use, can provoke. The proposal is therefore established in two levels: the basic stratum is restored, the initial historical sediment, the same one on which the architecture of the city is based and, on the other hand, a new formal and constructive variety has been assumed in the additional, obeying the use required in our time.