National Heritage has launched an emergency plan to reform what was Carlos IV’s recreational residence in Aranjuez (Madrid), known as Casa del Labrador and the work of Juan de Villanueva, architect in charge of the Prado Museum. The reforms, to which more than seven million euros will be allocated and will last for at least three years, will begin with the reinforcement of the lower structure of the building, the repair of the electrical installation, and the replacement of elements of toilets and plumbing.
The instability of the land on which the neoclassical mansion was built, together with an error in the original construction, is threatening the structure of the property, causing cracks in the exterior facade. But as Luis Pérez de Prada, head of the Department of Architecture and Gardens of National Heritage, explains, the worst was happening inside: “During the last months, we have been seeing that the degradation was being noticed, not only in architecture but also in the decoration elements themselves. That forced us to take urgent measures ”, he explains.
Precisely, in the ornamentation of the upper floor of the royal house resides much of the immense value of the building. Among the works of art are the monumental French lamps, which the workers have taken down for the renovation, clocks such as the one in the Billiard Room (made of mahogany, which maintains the original table) or the one with the Trajan column in the Statues gallery. , decorated with busts from Ancient Greece, and the original fabrics that were personalized for each of the rooms, woven in the manufactures of the time in Lyon (France) and that, according to the conservative Lourdes de Luis Sierra, are unique examples in the world.
During the construction of the Casa del Labrador, which took more than 10 years, the best artists of the time were hired: the cabinetmaker José López, the master assembler Manuel de Monjas, the gilder José Cherou, the bronzer Domingo de Urquiza or painters like Luis Japelli. Artists from Paris, such as the French decorator Jean-Démosthène Dugourc and the Royal Factories and Workshops, also participated in the ornamentation process.
When the storm snow Filomena covered and paralyzed the Community of Madrid last January, what most concerned those in charge of maintenance was what was happening under the white cloak. The extraordinarily cold temperatures that the storm brought with it caused a significant increase in the damage to the façade: there was no time to lose. Inside the residence, you will find various works of art and decorations. Some, like the fabrics that cover the walls of the rooms, are unique pieces in the world and impossible to replace. In the video that accompanies this news you can see how a plan is put in place to save a historic building of great value, as well as the treasures that it houses inside.