Architecture for culture

Sant Francesc, Formentera (Islas Baleares)

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Antoni Tur “Gabrielet” Cultural and Artisan Centre

José Antonio Martínez Lapeña y Elías Torres Tur, arquitectos

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An old barracks, the old church and an old town hall transfer their past protagonist role to this new small complex of economic-cultural activities, which is thus transformed into a small urban centre at the service of the locality of Sant Francesc.

There are few urban and natural environments with the level of fragility that characterises the landscape of the island of Formentera, and there are few projects built that exemplify the way to act on its geographic limits and the always difficult framework of an architecture that seeks to be respectful to its history and surroundings while maintaining a contemporary language.

There is no doubt that this project for the Antoni Tur “Gabrielet” Cultural and Artisan Centre is such a project and studying it allows us to analyse its trajectory, in which the architects dedicate their efforts to uncovering without denuding the buildings to then proceed to dress them in their uninhibited attire.

The two sections of the old Civil Guard barracks have here been replaced with two volumes of equal characteristics to those that already existed, though in their new situation they have been built with a concrete structure and without intermediate load bearing walls. The large openings in the longitudinal walls allow for permeability between the interior spaces and the successive patios, in such a way as to produce a spatial sequence in which the interior and exterior spaces are interconnected and interact along its functional extension. The tiled roofs of the two sections are joined at the ends, covering part of the central patio in order to protect the performances, cultural interventions or open-air exhibitions.

The sequence formed by the patios directly connects the public road with the Jardí de les Eres garden, a new public space designed by the architects that will be covered in plantings of climbers (bougainvillea) that will twist themselves around the cables strung up for this purpose.

The destiny of the new complex is to become a future cultural centre for hosting exhibitions of local crafts and temporary markets of agricultural products. With the old church and the old town hall, the new small complex will help to preserve the modest and restrained atmosphere of the first urban centre of Sant Francesc.

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Situación: Formentera, Islas Baleares. Cliente: Consell Insular de Formentera. Arquitectos: José Antonio Martínez Lapeña y Elías Torres Tur. Arquitecto director de la obra: Marià Castelló. Arquitecto Técnico: Xicu Ribas. Colaboradores estudio Martínez Lapeña - Torres Arquitectos: Laura Jiménez, Pablo Tena, Marc Marí, Pau Badía, Borja Gutiérrez, Lluis Moranta, José San Martín, Jennifer Vera. Constructor: Naves y Conducciones. Estructura: Gerardo Rodríguez, Ingeniería STATIC. Instalaciones: Miquel Portell y Xavier Colomar. Fotografía: Marià Castelló
José Antonio Martínez Lapeña
Elías Torres Tur