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Culture centre and library in the Old Schools


FAD Awards finalist 2019  Architecture
Description Technical file

The Jury’s appraisal: The refurbishment and enlargement of a historical modernist building surprises us for the wonderful sensation of peace it gives us. The intervention is particularly outstanding for its ability to architecturally control the light in a succession of interior spaces. This light, both natural and artificial, transforms the articulation of the existing building and its enlargement into a continuous space that organically flows to create the impression that both bodies have always existed together.

The project sets out to refurbish the old modernist schools of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia (Madurell, 1918) to house a new culture centre, with library and archive. The schools are located on a rectangular plot hemmed in by four streets. The building stands on the western part of the site and was designed in the shape of a U, a frequently used school typology in the early 20th century, surrounding a playground that lengthened towards the east. The proposed programme exceeded the built surface of the historic building and made it necessary to embark on a new-build extension occupying the old school playground.

Unitary plinth
The first decision to be taken was to recognise the historic building exactly as it was conceived and to make the most of the original access from the square as the main entrance to the new facility. The second one was to build a large stone
plinth to overcome the one-storey unevenness between one end of the site and the other. The plinth welds together the
new and the old while providing an important built area as a semi-basement storey without altering the urban surroundings from a volumetric and visual viewpoint, since it replaces the old fence of the site.

The unevenness of the site provides an independent entrance for the archive (currently at the project stage) from the lower
floor. The library occupies the two upper floors and integrates a series of spaces (a polyvalent room, the courtyard,
support-study rooms, etc.) which, by means of a system of doors, can be used independently outside library hours.

New superposed volumes
The programme is completed with a rectangular freestanding volume underpinned by the plinth, behind the historic
building though without touching it, leaving courtyards between them that allow light into the lower floor. Equally, a second new body is attached to the back façade of the building in order to install the vertical communications between the three levels while enhancing the value of a highly modified façade without much interest.

While the historic building is restored in a comprehensive and respectful manner, the new bodies are formalized in a
contemporary language through a dialogue with the pre-existence in terms of tones, rhythms and compositional systematisation. The new volume is conceived as a porch sheltering a part of the old playground, where the main programme of the library is installed, with more opaque lateral façades and more diaphanous main façades to enhance the continuity between spaces and the relationship with the playground.

Structuring courtyard
The position of the two bodies allows the central courtyard to be kept as a structuring space for the complex, a delimited space for controlled outdoor activities. The necessary connection between old and new is made of glazed elements.

The refurbishment is committed to traditional construc-tion systems (ventilated Catalan roof, breathable façade in lime plaster, Catalan vault forgings, etc.), lengthening the life cycle of existing solutions and materials, making the most of their features and completing them to meet the new uses and requirements in terms of safety, energy efficiency, etc. The new bodies are conceived with pre-industrialised systems with the same aim of minimising the work’s energy and environmental impact. The ground cover planting, the recyclable rubber floor and the metallic panels are designed according to this indispensable objective.

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Localización Location: Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Barcelona. Spain. Autores Authors: Oriol Cusidó i Garí, Irene Marzo Llovet, arquitectos | Taller 9s Arquitectes. Aparejador Quantity surveyor: Manel Marín. Colaboradores Collaborators: Brisa Martínez, Núria Serrano, arquitectas. Estructuras Structures: Manel Fernández. Instalaciones Facilities: Lluís J. Duart. Presupuesto Budget: Miquel Milian. Equipamiento Equipment: Ignasi Bonet. Seguridad y Salut Security and health: Ana Bono. Promotor Developer: Ajuntament de Sant S’Adurní d’Anoia. Constructora General Contractor: COBRA, Tabaquista. Superficie Area: 2.349m2. Fotografía Photography: Adrià Goula.
Suppliers list
Fachadas metálicas y cerrajería: Pidemunt

Restauración de fachada: Rècop restauracions arquitectòniques www.

Ventanas de madera: Roi



Adrià Goula