Architecture for culture


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Auditorium and Municipal Exhibition Centre

Francisco José Mangado Beloqui, arquitecto

Description Technical file

Right from the start, this building had to confront the challenge of its location at the foot of the north side of Ávila’s city walls, the city’s monument par excellence, and the need to integrate a building of large dimensions into surroundings of high heritage value and a fragile landscape environment.

Ávila is an intense, dense city and the reading of its ground plan, centred on and limited by the terse outline of its walls, confirms this vision. It is in this density where any gap acquires additional value, which has to do with the idea of contrast or with that of the limit. This gave rise to the idea of a square as the liberating mechanism of the interior space, and also of exterior articulation with the walled city. The space outside the walls, normally connected with commercial activities, is at the origin of these gaps, which serve to articulate the two sides of the city.

Conceptual density, generosity (configured as the square) in the manner of occupying the place and making the most of the topographical conditioning factor of the land were the criteria that guided the decisions in this project. Formally and spatially, the landscape dotted with pieces of granite has surely supplied the necessary references.

The proposal is thus for a great esplanade or plaza, a meeting point at the edge of the city walls, where the Municipal Exhibition and Congress Centre does not find itself isolated and where all types of events can be held. The general level of this esplanade is made to coincide with one of the highest spots on the plot, so that its extension generates a great inner void that incorporates the required uses without the need for excavation while also preventing the new constructions, in spite of the dimensions of the programme they contain, from protruding unduly. This esplanade, as it approaches the river Adaja, is deformed by being transformed by means of formulating a “faceted” volume through large polyhedral folds to house the exhibition area, in an artificial topography that allows it to integrate into the landscape in the bottom part of the plot. However, the lateral occupied by the orthogonal-shaped construction, which houses the auditoria and the main halls, conserves its character as a vantage point platform that, by being more elevated, establishes a visual relationship with the opposite riverbank and with the river itself.

From a formal and constructional point of view, the work is inspired in the evocative power of the landscape, in the granite mass that invades everything. The volumes have been designed to be seen from a distance, and in this way the building can be identified from the top of the walls like a manipulation hewn from the great rock into which the entire terrain has been transformed.

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Situación: Ávila. Autor: Francisco José Mangado Beloqui, arquitecto. Director de obra: Francisco José Mangado Beloqui, arquitecto. Colaboradores: Jose M. Gastaldo, Francesca Fiorelli, Daniel Padrón Hernández, Daniel Marchelli, Ana Gabriela Salvador, Arina Keysers, Anjte Konrad, arquitectos. Angel García. PA Aparejadores (Luis Pahissa / Fernando Pahissa), arquitectos técnicos. Ingeniería estructuras: NB 35. Jesús Jiménez Cañas / Alberto López, ingenieros. Ingeniería instalaciones: Grupo JG Asociados. Enrique Monreal / Víctor González, ingenieros. Ingeniería acústica: Higini Arau Estudi Acustic. Iluminación: ALS Lighting arquitectos consultores de iluminación (Antón Amann). Constructora: Volconsa. Promotor: Ayuntamiento de Ávila-Junta de Castilla y León. Fotografía: Pedro Pegenaute.
Francisco José Mangado Beloquí
Pamplona, Navarra
Pedro Pegenaute