Architecture for culture


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Extension of the Contemporary Culture Centre (CCCB)

José Antonio Martínez Lapeña y Elías Torres Tur, arquitectos

FAD Awards finalist 2012  Architecture
Description Technical file

Adaptation to the urban surroundings, respect for the existing builds together with an efficient response to the proposed programme of uses and to the connection with the current CCCB building characterise this brilliant project.

The new theatre of the CCCB is located in Plaza Joan Coromines, though it can also be accessed from Calle Valldonzella and connects with the central headquarters of the CCCB through a luminous underground passage. It houses two halls: the Theatre Hall, a polyvalent space with seating capacity for 600 people, and the Raval Hall, holding 170 people. The reform works have conserved the façade of the old theatre built by Joseph Godoy Casals in 1912. In fact the Theatre Hall, in its new configuration, retains the modernist mouldings and some small polychrome fragments, the only touch of colour in a very white and luminous environment.

The façade giving on to Plaza Joan Coromines, configured by the CCCB, the MACBA and Ramon Llull University, was the series of arches of a cloister in the old Charity House, which is separated from the theatre. The arches have been filled in and window letters have been created that allow the building to be identified as part of the suite of rooms of the Contemporary Culture Centre. Only the two arches nearest the current CCCB building have been left open, thus configuring an access porch that extends the square to the building interior.

Small sporadic touch-ups have been applied to the façade of Calle Valldonzella to improve the quality of the interior space of the theatre and of the new rooms, increasing their luminosity. This is the intention behind the extension of the passageway away from the party wall that faced the church. The vestibule space, the only one that varies substantially with regard to its previous configuration, is limited to the south by the old façade of the cloister and to the north by the façade of the theatre. This south façade of the theatre recovers the arches, which are currently only insinuated in the roof, to reveal the symmetry of the hall, achieving a luminary effect similar to that of the Palau de la Música. Given that the façade giving on to the square is almost solid, the light enters through the gaps caused by the CCCB letters, while the roof has been resolved by means of a skylight that illuminates this foyer space of the theatre on the first floor and the entrance vestibule on the ground floor.

In order to ensure the physical nexus between the current CCCB building and the extension, an underground passage has been created below Plaza Joan Coromines that starts in the access vestibule underneath the Pati de les Dones courtyard and leads to the new building with a diagonal position underneath the square. This space has not been designed as merely a connection; rather, its amplitude and the fact that it is lit through the skylight allow it to be used as a display area while giving access to the storerooms and technical rooms. The passageway ends in a set of escalators that lead the visitor to the double-height vestibule that organises the accesses to the different theatre spaces.

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José Antonio Martínez Lapeña y Elías Torres Tur, arquitectos
José Antonio Martínez Lapeña
Elías Torres Tur
Lourdes Jansana