Ruins to Resort: Medieval Town Gets Postmodern Makeover

A ruin can be a priceless piece of antiquity – or a worthless pile of rotting timber and crumbling stone when left to waste away in the elements. This may be the most daring building conversion of our times – a collection of castle-like ruins on top of a hill that has been radically remodeled into something barely recognizable as a paid retreat.

Maybe the name Million Dollar Donkey should have been a clue that this is not the kind of stay the typical tourist is expecting. A bed hangs in the hair – cantilevered out in space, suspended within a steel mesh cage – not at all an experience one expects to find on a cozy getaway in some ancient castle space.

There is something gritty and real about this place – clearly-new construction adds a layer to the existing architecture rather than seeking to detract from or overwhelm it. Steel girders support spartan beds and minimalist interventions make the rooms seem barely habitable, but in a strangely good way.

Avoiding conventional hotel aesthetics as well as a contemporary tendency toward cliche historicism, this redesign project by Feld72 is unlike anything most visitors have ever seen. The approach is a unique attempt to “focus on the relation between identity, territory and social space” – a unlikely union of modern design, postmodern art and historic preservation. The question was how to “transform lost spaces of migration” for “the future … without denying its past?”

Making for an even more authentic feel, many of the interior areas have been left unrenovated. This is more than just a hotel filled with rooms – it is a series of spaces packed with all kinds of potential. “They can be used as meeting places, bedrooms, siesta spaces and a public bathroom. Occasionally they are filled with the protagonists of a new, much more contemporary kind of migration: the nomad of nowadays, the tourist, which in some moments can transform these spaces into a non-commercial version of a Hotel. But this all depend on the public itself on their own responsibility how they use and how they share their new spaces.”

You Might Also Like

Get the free daily Dornob newsletter

You must agree to receive emails from this site to subscribe.

Do you live in Canada? Register here