- Relation of the building with its surroundings:
This new University building is located in a heterogeneous area, beyond the perimeter of the current campus and physically separated from it by a major road, the project’s objective is to employ the configuration of open spaces as generative, unifying elements, creating a link between the building and its surroundings and increasing the synergies between the academic complex and its urban context.
Our design aims to convert the building into an extension of the campus’s public space, while giving the building an autonomous interior space of its own.
A public plaza collects and guides campus circulation from the street into the building. The functional areas open to the general public and the rest of the University community - such as the exhibit area, the auditorium and the library - are located along the street. The slope of the sidewalk is used to create direct pedestrian entrances to the two main levels of the new Faculty.
The public plaza extends through the building's main entrance, which takes the form of a large opening in its facade, and is transformed into a spacious terrace overlooking the inner courtyard. From the main entrance, circulation is continuous, following half-open, undulating corridors, inviting visitors to enter, stroll around and leave without experiencing any interruptions in the curved space.
- Choice of material:
The project employs basic building materials and solutions, based on simple, low-cost, locally available technology.
The building’s main physical elements are reinforced concrete, and the frosted u-shaped cast glass that defines a translucent enclosure and leads throughout the building, separating the functional areas from the common ones.
The outer skin is made of textured concrete. It adopts a curved shape, protecting and enveloping the building’s interior open space.
Its most striking feature is its continuity, which allows it to define the building’s perimeter without being restricted by either the scale of the spaces it contains or that of the techniques used in its construction.
The broken texture of the concrete skin is used as a unifying element of a skin that has a dual vocation of scale: its role is both architectural, in that it houses the teaching areas, and scenic, in its defining of the building's urban and territorial image.
Our main focus was to ensure flexibility in the teaching areas, workshops and classrooms, which are distributed along a continuous band and use mobile dividing walls to create classrooms from 35 to several hundred square metres in size, or even open up the whole floor, depending on the needs.
The fixed installations were placed on the inner side of this flexible band of workspaces, next to the corridors, to facilitate maintenance and prevent them from interfering in any transformation.
The open inner spaces, the courtyards and the large terrace, complement and extend the building’s main functions. In this way, the patio-gardens and open ramps, the covered galleries and terraces are conceived as open-air exhibition and complementary teaching areas.
The auditorium, the exhibit area, and the cafeteria are integrated into these open inner spaces, transforming them into places for social exchange.
We like to see the new Faculty of Fine Arts as a building that offers innovative spaces for an experimental and creative education.
gpy arquitectos, the studio formed by Juan Antonio González Pérez, Urbano Yanes Tuña and Constanze Sixt, sees architecture as a means of using space to seek out new forms of relating the human being with his surroundings. The dissolution of the limits between interior and exterior, public and private, urban and territorial, is employed as a strategy for transforming projects into social spaces.
In 2003, gpy arquitectos won the ar+d Award for Emerging Architecture and was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award and in 2008, it was nominated for the Iakov Chernikhov International Prize. Further distinctions include the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Awards, the Taipei International Design Award and the German Design Council Iconic Award.
The studio’s works have been shown at the Architecture Week in Prague, the Netherlands Architecture Institute NAI in Rotterdam, the MoMA in New York and the Spanish Pavilion of the Venice Biennale.