Performing Arts Center in Níjar

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MGM Arquitectos

Location: Níjar, Almería
Date: 2006
Photography: Jesús Granada

Format    Pdf
Pages 18
Language Spanish

Online access (subscribers)

Current developments in the peripheries of cities show us the coarseness of the constructed landscape and the difficulty in ensuring that the passerby captures by means of the views an appealing perspective of the surroundings. Architecture does have a possibility to coexist in these deteriorated environments. One possibility is to bring the landscape and its experience closer in to fit the size of the body, close to the eye. Nancy Holt made some installations in the sixties in which she showed us the possibility through which a person can make coexist in a cosy way a space and a landscape, the body and the gaze. Designing an architecture to the human scale does not mean making it homothetic to our size or in proportion to our measurements, but rather that it be capable of calibrating and measuring human sensations.

Looking through a window like one who looks through the hole in a bottle, means making it more subjective if the landscape fits, adapting it to the eye, selecting what we deem attractive. Similarly, to make the architecture surround the body, enveloping and protecting it, is to make the architecture lose some of what we normally understand as composition and is transformed into the body’s own resonance.

The site is situated in an old zone of terraced fields (paratas) barely visible from the street. Only if we move away can we see the terraces which constitute one of the characteristic “images” of Nijar. (Juan Goytisolo calls them <the countryside of Nijar> in the book of the same name.) The town has been colonizing these gardens, but the appearance of the street remains the same. On one of them will be installed the new scenic space.

This urban feature, the strength of the landscape, and the topography largely decide the general outlines of the design. Capturing part of the terraced landscape and limiting the height of the project towards the main street where access will be made public, also form part of the overall strategy. An exhibition area must be designed, a theater with an adequate and versatile use, some music workshops and rehearsal rooms.

This functional differentiation (day, night) is grouped by us into two parts which are connected in the deeper dimension of the land, with the intention that the buildings emerge facing the ravine in isolation, defined by the activity that everyone should understand. These two objects leave around them some yards-pits that liberate the building from the ground which looms out of the natural terrain set with gabions.

The place that envelops the two built pieces belongs to the children, in which a puppet theater welcomes them. We are interested in pursuing the concept of unique contiguous space within each built volume. This has been done by considering them as tubular elements, homogeneous in all their generatrix, so that within their interior are inserted various functional packets, leaving a continuous hole that makes its way through these boxes of colour. The tubular shell is designed to protect the hollow interior space from the aggressive climate thanks to the final layer, lightweight panels of perforated aluminum sheeting which keep the building ventilated and in constant shade. We would like the covering of the construction to accentuate the idea of overlapping elements, directing their views to the distant Cabo de Gata.
The interior packets that define happy, ludic spaces of music, theater, foyer and cafeteria move and show the strong sun of Almeria via the openings which we denominate “mouths”, that coincide with the cross section of the tubular element. These points are the only places where the life of the building is shown, especially at night when the boxes of colours are illuminated. This public building activity aims to seduce the town’s inhabitants with its interior activity, trying to extend its public interior space towards the public urban space.
It is desirable to achieve that the life of the building is understood between the coming and going from one place to another in the building. We hope that the echo and the bodies run about between the volumes, there by where it penetrates the landscape, or the pronounced shadows of the torrid Almeria summer.

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