Coworking Headquarters: Casa da Conga
The Campus Stellae Business and Coworking Centre is located in the impressive Casa da Conga, an emblematic and historic building of the city of Santiago de Compostela from early 18th century.
Casa da Conga: history
The Casa da Conga is located in the Plaza de la Quintana closing it in its southern part ("Quintana de Mortos"). It is also known as the Casa dos Canónigos because it was designed to house the canons of the Cathedral.
The initial project was the work of Domingos de Andrade, but it was Casas y Novoa who completed the construction in 1730.
It is structured as a block of four houses with an attractive portico linking the four buildings. It is in a classicist style in contrast to the Casa da Parra located in the upper part of the square. It is a rectangular building with granite masonry and a tiled hipped roof. The four houses stand on a base with steps, unified in a single front but separated from each other by five pilasters that rise up to the cornice. All four have the same layout: free-standing Doric columns with three semicircular arches on the ground floor and a balcony with an iron railing and a window on each side on the main floor. Above the central pilaster is the coat of arms of the chapter. On the same axis, on the roof, there is a colossal chimney.
The building was refurbished at the beginning of this century with a great work that professed the utmost respect for its history and surroundings but added functionality. Today this century-old building proudly claims its history and is one of the emblems of the city, which it contemplates full of life and projects.
Surrounding area: Plaza de la Quintana
The Plaza de la Quintana is one of Compostela's favourite squares and is full of life and activities. It is a square full of history , formed by the confluence of the south façade of the Cathedral of Santiago, the Casa da Parra, the Convento de San Paio de Antealtares and the Casa da Conga.
The Plaza de la Quintana is full of symbolism and is divided by steps that separate the upper part from the lower and wider part: Quintana de Vivos and Quintana de Mortos respectively..
The part of Quintana de Mortos, in addition to housing Roman and early medieval tombs discovered during the excavations of the Cathedral and its surroundings, was a burial site until the 18th century, when, for health reasons and lack of space, it was decided to look for another location.
The Plaza de la Quintana presents us with the south façade of the Cathedral, which hides its Romanesque chevet behind a long Baroque wall crowned with pinnacles. This canvas is the work of Peña de Toro and Domingo de Andrade, who in the 17th century gave an elegant overall image to the entire east side of the Cathedral, visually unifying the Clock Tower, the Royal Gate, the Holy Gate and the Abbots' Gate.
The starting point of the Baroque reform was the construction in 1657 of the Royal Portico, the royal entrance through which the kings of Spain entered the cathedral, hence its name, and on its lintel is the royal coat of arms.
We can also find in the Quintana the Cathedral's Puerta Santa , which is only opened during Holy Years so that believers who cross it can receive plenary absolution after confession and communion. This privilege, granted to the Cathedral in 1122 and ratified shortly afterwards, gave Santiago its status as a holy city of Christianity.
The Monasterio de San Paio de Antealtares, with its impressive 48 latticed windows, was founded in the 9th century by Alfonso II for the monks to guard the remains of the Apostle. These Benedictine monks were replaced towards the end of the 15th century by the cloistered Benedictine nuns who have inhabited this building ever since.
As information provided by the Santiago City Council reminds us:
"This square has actually been a great spectator of history. It heard the first municipal proclamations in the Middle Ages, housed the city's first Town Hall, saw the birth of the University in the monastery of San Paio and was the market and stage for the most diverse political manifestations in the city's history. It witnessed how a battalion made up of a thousand students and professors from the University of Santiago marched to confront the French troops during the War of Independence, preventing the fall of Galicia one night in May 1808. In their memory, the Quintana was once called Plaza de los Literarios, as a plaque on the wall of the monastery recalls".
Our seat is on the corner with the Plaza de las Praterías, being the busy place of passage between both squares, as in Praterías we find the current access to the interior of the Cathedral.
The Praterías façade is the only Romanesque façade that has survived in the cathedral and owes its name to the goldsmiths' workshops located in the cloister's lower part since the Middle Ages. There are still many jewellers' shops there today.
This square has a very rich iconography and its ensemble is an example of Baroque town planning; divided into two levels joined by a grand staircase, the work of Simón Rodríguez and later centred by the Fonte dos Cabalos (1829) which carries the Marmórica Ark. The noble buildings that surround it contribute to the theatrical effect of the surroundings. Ascending, the south façade of the cathedral with the only Romanesque door that remains, next to it the Clock Tower or Berenguela. Closing the other front is the Casa do Cabildo which, with a depth of only three metres, has a purely scenographic function.
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1985, considering that its urban beauty and monumental integrity were complemented by the profound echoes of its spiritual significance as an apostolic sanctuary and the destination of the most important religious and cultural movement of the Middle Ages: the pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. Could there be a better place to undertake a project?
Here you will find information on his many awards:
- 1941. Declared Historic Site of National Interest.
- 1985. Declared World Heritage by UNESCO on 4 December 1985. Award received in March 1986.
- 1985. Europe Prize 1985. Awarded by the Council of Europe to a city for its European commitment. Declared on 12 July 1985.
- 1987. First European Cultural Itinerary. The Way of St. James was declared the First European Cultural Itinerary by the Council of Europe in 1987 (23 October 1987).
- 1987. Flag of Honour of the Council of Europe (23 October 1987).
- 1992. Firenze Prize Awarded by the Centro Culturale Firenze Europa on 5 December 1992. Sponsored by: Comune di Firenze.
- 1993. Royal Foundation of Toledo Prize (call for papers 1993). Received in October 1994. "For its urban recovery and renovation project, which appropriately and intelligently combines tradition and the contemporary".
- 1993. The Way of St. James was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 10 December 1993 (UNESCO meeting in Cartajena de Indias, Colombia).
- 1994. Europa Nostra Prize. Rehabilitation of the old tannery of Carme de Abaixo. Architect: José Luis Pereiro.
- 1995. European cities of culture in 2000: Avignon, Bergen, Bologna, Brussels, Krakow, Helsinki, Prague, Reykjavik and Santiago de Compostela.
- 1996. Gubbio Prize 1996. Awarded every three years by the Italian National Association of Historic-Artistic Centres (ANCSA) and the Municipality of Gubbio. Awarded to the Ponte de Rehabilitación de Viviendas de la Ciudad Histórica de Santiago de Compostela programme.
- 1996. Europa Nostra Prize 1996 (received in 1997). For the heritage rehabilitation policy implemented in the historic city centre.
- 1997. Medal of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Awarded on 31 March 1997 by the President of the Assembly. In recognition of the city for its efforts to promote the European heritage of the city of Santiago de Compostela, acknowledging its actions as a great service to the European cause.
- 1997. Manuel da Dehesa Award. Awarded by the Ministry of Public Works, the Higher Council of Spanish Architects' Associations, the Menéndez Pelayo University (UIMP) and the University of Alcalá to the architects Álvaro Siza Vieira and Isabel Aguirre Urcola for their rehabilitation of the old cemetery and Hortas de Bonaval as a public park, opened to the public in 1994. The project was financed by the Consorcio de la Ciudad de Santiago de Compostela.
- 1998. European Prize for Urbanism. Awarded by the European Commission in the category of local planning, after competing with 130 actions from all over the continent.
- 2001. Europa Nostra Prize 1999-2001 for the refurbishment of Santiago Cathedral carried out by the Regional Ministry of Tourism and Culture of the Xunta de Galicia between 1997 and 1999 with an investment of more than 500 million pesetas.
- 2001. Torre Guinigi Prize. Awarded by the Italian city of Lucca (Tuscany) for the restoration work carried out in recent years on the historic city.
- 2002. Good Practice Award (UN). Obtained in the IV International Competition of Good Practices of the United Nations for the planning of the protection and rehabilitation of the Historic City of Compostela.
- 2003. Archival Award. Awarded by the Association for the Recovery of Historic Centres in Spain (Archival) for being a benchmark in the rehabilitation of historic centres for other cities and for knowing how to guide their recovery processes to achieve a more habitable city, with a better range of services and an unquestionable quality of life.
- 2003. Eixo Atlántico Medal. Awarded by the Eixo Atlántico do Noroeste Peninsular, for its work in the recovery and preservation of its historical and monumental heritage.
- 2003. Manuel de la Dehesa Award (VII Biennial of Spanish Architecture). To the architect Víctor López Cotelo (Madrid, 1948) for the conversion of the old Carmen de Abaixo cowshed into a group of 21 dwellings. A private initiative.
- 2004. Prince of Asturias Award for Concord to the Way of St. James as a place of pilgrimage and encounter between people and peoples which, over the centuries, has become a symbol of fraternity and the backbone of the common European conscience.
- 2006. Green Flag-Sustainable City Award. Awarded by the Federation of Independent Users and Consumers and supported by the Ministry of the Environment through the Biodiversity Foundation, this award recognises the work of Spanish municipalities that are efficiently moving towards sustainability through their actions.
- 2007. Queen Sofia Prize for Universal Accessibility 2006. The City Council received the prize awarded by the Royal Board on Disability, which recognises the work carried out in Compostela in the field of accessibility among municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.
- 2007. Best International Tourist Destination Award 2007. Awarded in Brazil by the magazine "Brasil Travel" and the Brazilian Association of Travel Agencies.
- 2007. ARQAno Prize for the promotion of Architecture. Awarded by the Official Associations of Architects of Northwest Spain. Santiago was awarded "for its continuous and attentive urban management that incorporates architecture as one of its fundamental pillars".
- 2008. Philippe Rotthier European Prize 2008. Awarded by the Foundation for Architecture in recognition of the Best Quality of City Expansion in the last 25 years. The award values the quality of the growth of the Fontiñas industrial estate.
- 2010. World Heritage Cities Award 2010. Organised by the Ministry of Culture and awarded to the Office of the Historic City and Rehabilitation of Santiago de Compostela (OCiHR) for its work in the historic centre. The recognition was exemplified by thirteen interventions.
- ...and a long etcetera in which we can mention its condition of capital of Galicia, its presence in the Group of World Heritage Cities of Spain, Congress City (member of the Spain Bureau Convention), Member of the Dancing Cities Network (CQD), a member of the International Association of Educating Cities, destination integrated in the Integral System of Tourism Quality in Destinations (SICTED), a member of the Cities for Bicycling Network, member of the Atlantic Arc Cities Conference, city part of the Atlantic Axis of the Peninsular Northwest, member of the European Network of Cross-Border and Interregional Cities (CECICN), a member city of the Charter of European Cities and Towns towards Sustainability (Aalborg).
Here is a photo gallery of the headquarters and its surroundings: