THE GARDEN NOW

IT'S SUMMER AT THE GARDEN

LIGHT, COLOR AND FRESHNESS

ARCHITECTURE | SHADE-HOUSE

At the end of the 19th century, the first wooden arbour or shade-house was substituted when the new Director, Eduardo Boscá, had the current shade-house erected, which is known as el Umbráculo . The Madrid architect Arturo Mélida y Alinari was appointed to direct the project. Among his other outstanding works we should mention the restoration of the cloister claustro de San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo and the Liniers Palace in Burgos.

This construction covered 560 square metres2, and constituted a semi-cylindrical metal roof resting on thick brickwork pillars. It was 12 m high at the centre and the 24-m arch span was unsupported centrally. To provide shade, the structure had a system of manually-operated canvass awnings or “sails”.

By 1987 the shade-house was in a state of great disrepair: the brickwork pillars were cracked and trees and bushes had grown among them, a covering of heather branches replaced the canvass awnings. All these were destroyed in a fire. In the restoration the original design was respected, although certain changes were made, which meant that no plant materials were used and the decorations were made of cast iron, instead of embossed zinc. Also, the central pool, which served irrigation purposes, was reinstated, later to be removed once again in the 1966 restoration.