sol89 retrofits slaughterhouse with cooking school in cadiz, spain sol89 retrofits slaughterhouse with cooking school in cadiz, spain
feb 15, 2013

sol89 retrofits slaughterhouse with cooking school in cadiz, spain

‘cooking school in matadero’ by sol89, medina sidonia, cadiz, spain

image © fernando alda



drawing from the warm, orange roofscapes of the hilly historic town of medina sidonia, sevilla-based sol89 designed a cooking school within the architectural bones of an ancient slaughterhouse. the vernacular architectonic makeup of cadiz consists of high white walls and ceramic roof tiles, but the slaughterhouse afforded a dichotomy of spaces that at once proved striking and challenging in their specificity. the central courtyard was once used as a holding plot for the cattle, while the heaviness of the surrounding masonry was interjected with aged phoenician columns. the project aimed at reclaiming the open plot with a tiled roof that creates new geometries for the building while still reflecting the local architectural language. the new roof unifies a program that includes didactic kitchen and classroom spaces along with a public dining hall and bar. the courtyard houses an edible garden and the historical perimeter of the structure is now a series of ancillary spaces connected by circulation. contact between the existing building and new intervention is primarily manifested in a sliver of diffused light, having been engineered to reduce the load on the original masonry. the folded roof additionally allows natural light and ventilation to filter the numerous kitchens and small patios, which are extensively glazed for public viewership. restaurant goers can peer through original brickwork through generous windows at the student chefs. the architects sought to create a ‘gradient of public space’ in keeping with the service-oriented art of cooking. the movement of the public is dictated by the roof’s allowance of light, itself a rhythmic pattern of shaded and sunlit spaces that enhance the natural porousness of the existing building. this is an architecture of restraint– the majority of rejuvenating gesture keeps within traditional construction techniques. the floor is a meeting of contemporary materials and ancient formwork, most notably in the floor which replaced crumbling stones with concrete slabs and elegantly grained wood. the school’s walls retain the rustic white lime mortar in keep with the tiled roof cap, forever keeping the vestiges of the old slaughterhouse, or matadero, contained within.  

the ‘cooking school in matadero’ was recently awarded the winner of the 11th tile of spain awards in architecture and interior design at CEVISAMA 2013 – the international exhibition for architectural ceramics, bathroom equipment, natural stone, raw materials, glazes, frits and machinery – in valencia, spain.




the slaughterhouse-turned-cooking-school uses the architectonic language of the surrounding historical town

image © fernando alda  


existing phoenician columns and exposed timber beams were used as opportunities to create diffused light conditions

image © fernando alda



student kitchens are punctuated with atria and natural light

image © fernando alda



a view to an interior corridor 

image © fernando alda



the tiled roof and lime-white walls at night

image © fernando alda



the dilapidated interior courtyard of the slaughterhouse before renovation 

image © fernando alda



the high-walled slaughterhouse before the intervention

image © fernando alda



juanjo lópez de la cruz and maría gonzález, principal architects of sol89

image © designboom



site plan



original plan of the slaughterhouse



axonomteric diagram of the roof covering



floor plan level 0 



detailed section



long section a



long section b



short section c



short section d






collaged rendering



sketch diagram of the school in context



project info:


location: medina sidonia, cádiz, spaindesign date: 2008completion date: 2009-2011quantity surveyor: jerónimo arrebolacollaborators: george smudgeinstallation engineer: insur jgstructural engineer: alejandro cabanas, slbuilt area: 751 m²client: fundación forja xxigeneral contractor: novoarididian & rhodas, sl 

  • Even I could learn to cook beautiful food there. Beautiful – I love the colors and textures.


    JimCan says:
  • So glad to see that Spain’s still making amazing architecture like this. Spaniards are the architects of the decade.

    ysl says:
  • Beautiful project, for a second I thought those bricks were corten steel,, very rich of color. Brilliant simple forms to relate to the history, and at the same time help bringing in natural lights.

    twny says:

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