CASTALLA (ALICANTE, SPAIN) VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE: USE, LOSS, OBLIVION AND MEMORY
Vernacular architecture is a reflection of the relationship established by human social structures with their environment and how they take advantage of it for different commercial, economic, productive, pleasure and symbolic-religious purposes. The municipality of Castalla, located in the north of the province of Alicante, is a good example. It is an enclave in which the land use took place from Prehistory thanks to the human communities that mould its landscape. This process was intensified since the eighteenth century with building of pleasure houses, yards, plaster kilns, country houses (in many cases with small chapels) and snow wells, among other constructions. All of them made up a well-preserved landscape until the end of the twentieth century. Its decline took place with the industrialisation of Castalla in the middle of the twentieth century and the emergence of new socio-economic conditions. Consequently, this fact caused the abandonment as well as the oblivion of the material and immaterial characteristics that led to its appearance. This paper will analyse the characteristics of one of these constructions: Casa de la Glorieta (nineteenth century), which is an interesting example of rural buildings in Castalla. In most cases, they are austere country houses aimed basically at the land use. Nevertheless, Casa de la Glorieta (neoclassical style) becomes an ensemble with a double function along with Mas de la Parrotja: to take advantage of the environment and to serve as a pleasure house for the local bourgeoisie.