Chronology of the idea to restore the Mint
On April 16, 1998, the municipal, regional and national governments signed a three-way agreement for the restoration of the Segovia Mint, which at that time had an appearance similar to that in the aerial photo seen above. Shortly thereafter, the Office of Housing, Architecture and Urbanization of the Ministry of Development, held a contest for ideas which attracted proposals from 27 different teams of architects. The contract for the development of this study, the "Basic Project", was awarded to Gerencia y Proyectos, S.L., a group of architects coordinated by Eduardo de la Torre Alejano, in Madrid, on June 2, 1999. This base study was finished and turned in during November of 1999.
On June 19, 2002 the contract for the development of
the "Definitive Project" was awarded to the same team of
architects, which turned in the corresponding study during February
of 2004. This project -the final architectural plans which are
being carried out today in the Mint reconstruction project- was
based on the "Pilot Museum Project" which was developed by
Dr. Glenn Murray who was awarded the contract for
this purpose by Segovia City Hall. Murray substantiated the
usages for each of the buildings on those promoted by the Friends of
the Mint Association since 1993. The pilot project for the
future museum received the unanimous approval of the Scientific
Committee of the Royal Segovia Mint Foundation, whose technical
director is Murray.
View of the Segovia Mint restoration project from satellite in the summer of 2007, courtesy of Google Maps.
VIEWS OF THE MINT COMPLEX UNDER RECONSTRUCTION
BUILDING A (Coining
workshops and workers living quarters)
The primary structure at the Mint, called the
"herreriano" building (after the architect who designed it
in 1583, Juan de Herrera), is where the coining and smithy
departments were historically located on the lower level, and the
living quarters for the workers on the upper floor. The first
part of the restoration of this building was the elimination of a
modern structure which was added in 1955 when the Mint was being
used as a flour mill.
The extreme northeast corner of the "herreriano" building was in a very poor state of conservation prior to the start of the project and thus it had to be completely disassembled piece by piece. This aspect was very complicated however the results were excellent, as can be seen in the above photos. In this part of the building, where there was historically an old forge and smithy station, the future museum will will have located the gift shop and a beautiful spiral staircase which will connect the ground floor with the upper level and the attic.
The interior of the "herreriano" building was filled
with nearly 2 meters of earth and stones to avoid flooding during
the years the building was used as a flour mill
(1878-1968). Upon removing this fill, the holes in the wall
where the axles of the waterwheels entered the building were
discovered. These holes are numbered in the photos above: 1 -
3 where for the axles which drove the waterwheels of the mint's
smithy, and 4 - 8 for those which drove the laminating mills.
We can also see in the above photos the finished aspect which the
museum interiors will have: the ground floor for the functioning
workshop areas, and upper level for the museum displays.
The old guard house of the Mint, of poor construction quality and
in bad condition, had an upper floor added in 1915 which blocked the
view of the Alcazar castle from much of the upper patio level.
This addition, built when the Mint was being used as a flour mill,
was removed and the original one story construction was was restored.
This is where the museum entrance, ticket desk and coat check rooms
will be located, with restrooms in a basement level. The
passage way from the entrance hall to the museum exposition rooms on
the upper level of the "herreriano" building we be via the
zone directly above the two jail cells on the ground floor level at
the end of the lower patio. The seriously leaning walls in the
area around the jail cells have been corrected.
Bordering Coin Street is the upper patio level building which
historically housed the treasury, foundry, and other offices such as
the assay and weighing rooms, the Mint's archive, etc. In the
future, this building will house rooms with different cultural
activities such as the Museum's library, multi-purpose study hall
and center for investigations, rooms for temporary expositions,
etc. The foundations of this building were in very poor
condition and the unforseen work which had to be done -including
excavations beneath the street for consolidating the base- has made
this the area where the greatest delays have been in the restoration
project. In these photos, the foundry, with its twin chimneys
temporarily removed, remains beneath a white and blue plastic sheet.
The oldest building of the entire complex is the old palace of
the confraternity of the Santiago Church, which dates from romanic
times (13th century). It was purchaced by order of Philip IV
in 1628 and incorporated into the Mint to be used as the carpentry
workshop by the wheelmaster whose job was to keep the wooden
waterwheels functioning properly. This structure has been
restored as a small residence with 6 bed rooms, each with private
bath, to be used for museum activities, such as lodging for invited
guests. Adjacent to the palace was the 19th century
treasurer's living quarters, which has been reconstructed as the
Directly adjacent to Coin Bridge, which crosses the Eresma river,
we find the old paper mill which belonged to Antonio de San Millan.
This building dates from the mid 15th century and was part of the
original structures which Philip II bought in 1583 as the location
to build his new mint. Paper continued to be produced by
waterwheels in this building up until the reconversion of the
building in 1592 when it was equipped with machinery to produce gold
and silver coins, and from then on it was called the Ingenio Chico,
or small mill. During the period which the Mint building was
used as a flour mill (1878-1968) the lower level of this building
was filled with nearly two meters of earth and stone in order to
avert flooding. This fill has been removed in the
reconstruction project and the building has been adapted to serve as
the museum's restaurant, with two beautiful terraces, one on the
inside of the complex with views of the waterwheels, and the other
on the outside with views of the nearby Eresma River. It's
worth noting that the Mint always had a Tavern which is where the
employees ate their meals, and in the future visitors to the museum
as well as the general public, will be able to do the same here.
The Mint always had a romantic garden as part of the facilities used by the kings during their visits to the factory. One of the main features of the garden is a fishing pavillion with a balcony which overlooks the river; one of King Philip II's favorite places from which to fish for trout. The pavillion also has a shaded canopy with a small fountain at its entrance from the other side. This privileged green area of 1,564 m2 has been restored as the Mint museum's garden, respecting its past.