Hydraulic Museum and Cultural Centre in the Segura River Mills

The preservation of the industrial archaeological heritage, especially the architectural one, has raised in recent decades the need to provide new uses for its correct conservation. One of the most interesting experiences from this point of view has been the conversion of the old industrial building into a museum.

The complex to be rehabilitated was made up of the Old Bridge, the river channeling walls around the bridge and the Old Mills of Murcia, which were built between 1718 and 1741. All of this forms part of the urban core of the city, being also one of the most significant points of the intersection of the Segura river with it. The decisions of the project were mainly to return to the original or proper aspect that the mills had a priori, thus guaranteeing the conservation of the monument and of some singular pieces of the industrial archaeological heritage while adapting them to the use of a library.

The principles of the rehabilitation keep a certain rigor in the restoration of the original physical order of the Mills and, at the same time, the construction of an addition is proposed freely, without it greatly disturbing the basic image, allowing a better use of the construction. Both support the generation of urban life. In the facades, the vertical «additions» are eliminated, seeking to return to the primary configuration. Therefore, the original part is restored and the new part is clearly differentiated from the original building.

In the original building, stone is the material par excellence. Regarding the rehabilitation, the stone has been repaired and another similar stone is added when replacement is needed. Modern materials, such as glass, aluminum or reinforced concrete are also introduced.