The restoration of the former historic Triana tile and pottery works is part of a wider revitalization and tourist-enhancement programme for this colourful neighbourhood of Seville.
The tight sequence of buildings once housing production, warehouse and sales, original decorative features, blast furnaces that fell silent only relatively recently, and workshops where decorative finishes were developed, all speak of the history and culture of the place. The intricate weave that is the past is here physically reconstructed in the twists and turns of a circulation route that takes the visitor on a journey through the ceramic manufacturing process. The restoration programme succeeds in evoking the past through a series of tangible features added down the years to the three volumes making up the overall complex. The ground floor provides a fascinating insight into tile and pottery production history.
The maze-like circuit leads through the former factory where every production step is still clearly visible. In one place an old wall is still stained with the carbon black caused by a fire.
The stolid building giving onto a street in the “potters” quarter gives no hint of the labyrinthine interiors. Only the 1930s cladding of brilliantly coloured tiles - carefully preserved - advertise what went on inside. Retaining these features, the architects espouse a thoroughly contemporary aesthetic of conservation and restoration: preserving and embedding concrete testimony of the past in an innovative regeneration programme.
The museum offers a lively learning experience without being overbearing. A modern, rational project, it offers visitors all contemporary means of understanding what used to go on within its walls. The contemporary architecture of the upper floor seconds this by highlighting the visibility of items on display and allowing a clever combination of artificial and natural lighting.
Spatial composition has been given much thought. Ancient elements are juxtaposed with a series of different materials: timber clad walls and flooring; new floor slabs and pillars; and a metal structure resembling an open bookcase for displays of tubular shaped ceramic products. Set against the glazed walls, this metal frame acts as a sun and heat shield, casting welcoming shadows on the interior.