‘Rehabilitación de la Lonja de Limpias’

The winning proposal of the public competition convened by the ‘Consejería de Desarrollo Rural, Ganadería, Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Cantabria’, for the restoration and rehabilitation of the ‘Lonja Fluvial del Puerto de Limpias’  as ‘Centro de Educación Ambiental y Social (CEAS)’, has been presented by the spanish architectural studios AGi Architects and CSD3 Arquitectos, and is based on four principles:

The value of the market, through the conservation and restoration of the building to return it to its original state, restoring existing structures in stone and wood.

The increase of enclosed spaces incorporating the renovated patio, with light roof and cenital lighting, which allows to have a greater surface area for the development of the activity of the new center.

To enhance the relationship between the ‘Lonja-Ría’ and ‘Lonja-Plaza’.

The creation of a flexible distribution through mobile vertical partitions and modulation furniture adaptable to various uses.

This project of renovation of the market, being the work of a stone school of the eighteenth century, and declared of Cultural Interest, is respectful with its origin, history and meaning of the building over time. Therefore, the natural, ethnographic and architectural values it represents will be preserved through the careful restoration in wood and stone that will be carried out.


The ground floor, at street level, will be a new dynamic space of cultural activity in the area. It will be used for temporary exhibitions, events, conferences, and audiovisual projections.

It also raises the possibility of maintaining a more direct relationship with the square, integrating the public space into the exhibition space, through the semi-covered interior patio. A small reception and shop will complete the program of this level.

The first floor will host the permanent exhibition, as well as the spaces for classrooms-workshop, file and library. The main room, open to both the courtyard and the estuary, will rise as a reference image of the center. Linked to the estuary and the territory, it frames the landscape through its hollows, allowing a constant visual escape and a constant connection with the place.

On the outside of the building, restitution to its original state will prevail.

The exhibition space is expanded by the patio, which will be covered with a lightweight structure and partial zenith opening, lighting with safety laminated glass. Exhibition elements hung by means of a pulley system will make the courtyard an identity space of the new center.


The ‘Lonja’ restoration and rehabilitation project includes passive strategies to obtain the minimum energy consumption needed – both heating and cooling – and the adequate thermal comfort of users, based, for this purpose, on the requirement of the Passivhaus standard.

The high energy efficiency of these buildings radically reduces CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and the low energy needed makes it easier to use renewable energy as a source of supply.

The ‘Centro de Educación Ambiental y Social (CEAS) de Limpias’, located in such an important enclave for biodiversity, in the ‘Ría del Asón’, belonging to the territorial complex of the ‘Parque Natural de las Marismas de Santoña, Victoria y Joyel’, will be an example of public building rehabilitated with such standards in Cantabria.