Spain has a chequered history when it comes to restoring its ancient treasures. For every beautifully-preserved Alhambra there is an Ecce Homo – the painting of Jesus that was infamously “restored” on the cheap by wannabe artist Celia Giménez.
Celia Giménez's restoration of Ecce Homo, dubbed “Monkey Jesus”. Photo: AFP
The latest failed restoration project concerns a 400-year-old tower, whose owners have bizarrely decided to install modern aluminium windows, much to the distaste of locals.
“It’s terrible, absolutely terrible,” a local woman said in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC when questioned about the “improvements” to the 17th Century Riazón tower in the town of Ombreiro in the northwestern region of Galicia.
The tower is considered “of cultural interest” and is on Spain’s list of national heritage register but is currently in a state of dilapidation.
“When you intervene in a protected site it is essential to look at the forensics of the building to be able to undertake the task with the utmost vigour,” architect Carlos Quevedo Rojas told The Local on Tuesday.
“This did clearly not happen in this case,” he said. “Even when it comes to incorporating carpentry work you have to be so careful about the detail.”
Quevado is himself no stranger to controversy after his restoration of a ninth century Moorish castle hit the headlines for its less-than-conventional look (see photograph below).
Screen grab: La Sexta
But the Spanish architect perhaps had the last laugh when his design won a prestigious architecture award.
Spanish authorities have been often criticized for failing to preserve some of the country’s most important historical sites. In August 2015 a town in Galicia installed a concrete picnic table on top of an archeological site when builders confused a Neolithic tomb with broken stone picnic bench.