Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reprieve for Maspalomas

The Cabildo, the island government of Gran Canaria, has suspended the demolition permit for José Antonio Corrales and Ramón Vázquez Molezún's historic Maspalomas Oasis Hotel (see blog entry of Jan. 12, 2013).

The hotel closed its doors on April 31 in preparation for the demolition, and the owners planned an inversion of 46 million euros.

The move opens the door to a possible process of negotiation between local authorities and the owners that could lead to the restoration of the hotel, according to local architect and historian José Antonio Sosa, with whom I spoke in a telephone interview.

The Cabildo did not extend historic protection to the hotel building, but rather to the entire area around it, encompassing various other buildings and landscape features such as the virgin grove of palms and lush gardens that give the hotel its name. The Cabildo justified its decision citing the historic value of the site, which was where Christopher Columbus anchored in 1502 to gather provisions on his fourth voyage to the Americas.

The move automatically suspends the existing demolition permit and requires the hotel owners to submit any plans for the building to the Cabildo for approval. For its part, the Cabildo will develop a special master plan for the area, a spokesman told the press (El Diario Montanés, April 30, 2013).

Sosa explains that a decision protecting the building itself would have legally hampered the owners in any effort to update facilities such as kitchens and services during a restoration. Preservation legislation here is designed for protecting traditional historic monuments such as cathedrals and palaces, he says. He explains the protection of the landscape encompassing the hotel as a maneuver to accommodate the negotiation process.

Directing protection to the landscape revindicates Corrales and Molezún's original intentions, as their design breaks the building into a series of linked pavilions that are integrated with their unique surroundings.

Update 01.18.17

The Supreme Court of the Canary Islands  upholds decision protecting Maspalomas against appeals by local town council and hotel owners against lower court decision: 
Canarias Ahora


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