Posts tagged as 'congress center'

Palacio de Congresos, Badajoz, by SelgasCano, photo by Roland Halbe

Palacio de Congresos, Badajoz, by SelgasCano, photo by Roland Halbe

The Madrid based practice SelgasCano realised this cylindric conference center in Badajoz / Spain. The building was awarded by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is regarded as one of the most important 50 Spanish constructions of the last 30 years.

Palacio de Congresos, Badajoz, by SelgasCano, photo by Roland Halbe

Palacio de Congresos, Badajoz, by SelgasCano, photo by Roland Halbe

Here is what the architects say:

“The base on which we work is rather unrepeatable, strange: the old bullring of the city, circular, inserted in a pentagonal bastion of the Vauban XVII century wall. In the contest final report we have always excused ourselves for using a quote from Leopardi as our headword: “The last stage of knowledge is recognizing that all we were looking for was always in front of our eyes”. With this quote we summarized the process of how the initial difficulty involved in acting in such a conditioned place became resolved when we realized that what we were looking for already existed.

The bullring was created for the city of Badajoz in the specific enclave of the Baluard of San Roque over the remains of the old bullrings that have existed there throughout the centuries. We consider of great importance the palimpsestic process of all the previous bullrings and their evolutions, not only the last one we encounter in that site. We are not concerned with the physical echo of what is no longer there, but rather with the condition created previously, in the XVIII century, by the decision of emptying a circle in a massive pentagonal bastion, distorting the whole defensive concept and turning it around to make it receptive to public access and public events, either a bullfight, a concert or a conference. Therefore our decision from the beginning was to maintain this condition of a public empty space, of a space taken from the city. In order to maintain it, we “limited” ourselves to covering the whole existing field, filling it in completely. The difficulty in applying this procedure to fill a plot of land is due to the fact that it is a circular void on a bastion and so it must remain.”

Palacio de Congresos, Badajoz, by SelgasCano, photo by Roland Halbe

Palacio de Congresos, Badajoz, by SelgasCano, photo by Roland Halbe

“The complexity of placing a Conference Centre in an empty space and maintaining it empty is resolved by means of a simple trick, a magic trick, consisting of inverting the spectator area and taking it to the ring, to the centre, and taking the empty central area to the spectators, to where the old stands used to be. Then we dress the cylinder that is produced in the centre with light, projected upon the outer polyester rings that mark the uncertain limits of a void. Of course, the trick is prepared by placing underground and under the bastion the greatest possible number of elements of the program, placed in a radial position projecting towards the centre.

From the outside we might think that the shelter of the main entrance is the only existing construction or crank that appears, represents and opens, down the staircase it covers, the whole building.
From the inside, the main room corresponds to the same exterior idea of the cyclinder with luminous walls of the same acrylic material, translucid ceiling in the shape of a grid on which the shadow of the óculo moves, and a floor of the same dark colour as the plaza and the external patio. From the outside, this work, almost finished, has been creating, overall, a great unrest: the more we work on it, instead of appearing, it disappears. Diluted in that inevitable heritage.”

Palacio de Congresos, Badajoz, by SelgasCano, photo by Roland Halbe

Palacio de Congresos, Badajoz, by SelgasCano, photo by Roland Halbe

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Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Fancisco Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

The Spanish architect Francisco Mangado recently unveiled the new Congress and Exhibition Center in Ávila in central Spain. The center is situated outside the well-preserved romanic city wall, which sourrounds the historic city completely.

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Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Francisco Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

Here is what the architects say:

“Ávila is a dense and intense city. Surrounded by walls which have served to delimit and control its growth, every corner, every building and every framed view that derives from the sinuous tracing of its streets comes to highlight this perception. However, there is another density, a more intuitive one, which has to do with the quality of the land itself: a topographical, mineral compactness whose presence is revealed in a superb landscape sprinkled by granite stones which struggle to emerge and finally manage to do so in the artificial form of city walls. Ávila itself is a rock amid the harsh landscape surrounding it.

Within such thickset contexts, any clear space takes on an added value much related to the concept of contrast or of boundary. In such cases a square serves as a means to free up interior space, and externally, to articulate the relationship with the city walls. The area outside the walls, usually linked to commercial activity, belies the origin of these voids which organize the space between the city inside, and the city outside. These areas which have managed to remain clear have earned the power to structure the city in the course of the years. The presence of an open space at the foot of the walls – once a river bed and later a cattle market –, where the new Congress Center shall go up, allows to think of new systems to structure the urban space.”

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Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Franciso Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

“The site is characterized by the deep slope and the subsoil, which at least in the designated construction area, is granitic, thereby making excavation difficult. During project design the guiding principles were conceptual density, generosity in the way of occupying space, and exploitation of the topographical features of the site. The landscape, studded with granite pieces, provided the references needed.

The Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center is aimed at becoming a meeting place to celebrate different kinds of events, a leveled area or plaza at the edge of the walls. The main level of this area is matched up with the highest point of the plot, so that its extension generates a large interior void that shall house, without excavation, the required functions. This ensures that the new constructions, in spite of the scale of the programs they serve, do not stand out disproportionately. As it nears the river, this leveled area adjusts with polyhedric folds to the lowest parts of the plot. However, the grounds where the building rests remain as a raised platform which allows to establish a visual relationship with the opposite bank and the river itself.”

Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Franciso Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Franciso Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

“In accordance with the contours of the site, the project combines two different geometries: the most orthogonal and elongated space contains the auditoriums and main halls, while the most precipitous and uneven one contains the exhibition spaces. Entry to the complex is clear and easy: the main auditoriums are reached from the square and from the higher part of the seating area, which allows to get a quick grasp of the interior space; and the exhibition areas have an independent entrance from the incisions on the platform in the eastern boundary and, since all the different areas are connected under the square, they can also be reached from inside the building. The exhibition halls of these levels are set out as extensions of the foyer areas. All public accesses concentrate at the square, whereas the service areas are located in the northern end, where the slope of the terrain has been maintained.”

Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Franciso Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Franciso Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

“From a formal and constructional point of view, the project draws inspiration from the evocative strength of the landscape, from the granitic mass which pervades everything. Seen from afar, and high up on the walls, the building should reveal no planes, but rather leave a volumetric imprint, as a sculpture carved out of the terrain. For this reason the roofs shall be designed to smoothly extend the vertical surfaces. The elongated, more orthogonal building is precisely sculpted; and the more abrupt piece which covers the exhibition areas is built by tilting the base of the square, and then spreads to meet the surrounding landscape. These folds generate the incisions through which natural light floods the interior, also allowing independent access to this area. Instead of thin cladding, thick granite pieces shall be used.

In keeping with the exterior treatment of the pieces, the interior halls will be clad in laminated glass with a fiberglass infill, generating a dense and mineral – rather than transparent – appearance.”

Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Franciso Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center by Franciso Mangado, photo by Miguel de Guzmán

Direction: Francisco José Mangado Beloqui

Team: Jose M. Gastaldo, Francesca Fiorelli, Daniel Padrón Hernández, Daniel Marchelli, Ana Gabriela Salvador, Arina Keysers, Antje Konrad.

Installations engineering: Grupo JG Asociados (Enrique Monreal / Víctor González) Ingenieros

Acoustic engineering: Higini Arau Estudi Acustic

Lighting: ALS Lighting arquitectos consultores de iluminación (Antón Amann)

Quantity surveyors: Angel García. PA Aparejadores (Luis Pahissa / Fernando Pahissa)

Contractor: Volconsa SA

to the Franciso Mangado website

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