On the roofOne of the things I love of being an architect is the opportunity to see and enjoy unusual and even hidden views…

Last week I visited Toledo, as part of an ongoing contract, where I’m doing the structural engineering evaluation and consultancy for the rehabilitation of an old building. This building is very interesting, as some of its parts date back to the XI century, with some additions from the XV century, and minor ones later on. Besides that, it’s structure is a frankenstein like mix of masonry walls, timber frames, wooden columns and beams, earth walls and even some recent steel parts.

Structural skeleton - revealing the building internals - general view Structural skeleton - revealing the building internals

Alicia González, the architect that’s leading the works, had also arranged for that day a visit to the church of San Juan the los Reyes [1][2][3], a building in the plateresque style, built in the XV century by the Catholic Monarchs, which is undergoing some maintenance works on its façades and roofs.

From the roofs you can get some gorgeous views of the surroundings, including the famous cloister in the same building:

Toledo - birdview towards the river and the distant horizon Toledo - birdview towards the building cloister Toledo - birdview towards one of the city wall doors

Something that always surprises me is the care given to detail even for sculptures and stained-glass windows that stand further than 30 meters away from the ground:

Sculpture - the jewelry details are stunning Stained-glass window - This paintings are more than 30 meters away from the ground but the details are really fine

But not only this kind of monuments have their hidden treasures. Given that Toledo and the building we are working on both have a very interesting history, you can expect to find some hidden mozarab beauties and other little gems like carved wooden beams hidden behind a bathroom’s tiles, plaster decorations under a very boring covering or old decorations (XI century) that still keep some polychromy on them:

Decorated beam Old (XI century) plaster decoration Mozarab wooden beam Wall decorations Wood footing

I’m just curious about what the old arab writings on the mozarab wooden beam say… maybe someone on the web can help with that…

Interestingly, these two buildings frame what has been called the Golden age of jewish culture in Iberia, the Golden Age of Arab or Moorish Rule in Iberia, or even La Convivencia («the Coexistence»), spanning from the VIII to the XIV century.