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Architectural icon and urban landmark

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Architectural icon and urban landmark
By Francesco Pagliari -

The Auditorium of the Andalusian city of Lucena - known as the “Pearl of Sefarad”, the Hebrew name for Spain - is part of a landscape of hills and olive groves to the south of Córdoba, a land that since ancient times has been a cultural crossroads. The Auditorium’s own cultural program is appropriately broad. A theater and music venue, it is also designed to host a raft of other functions, with the declared aim of becoming a focal community reference point. Accordingly, the Auditorium’s architectural design was from the start intended to echo the building’s community role. In its call for tenders in 2006, the local authorities made clear that the new building should be both an urban landmark but also part of the city’s historical and cultural fabric. Located on an expanse of open land in proximity to Río Lucena and a newly built bullring for modern-type bullfighting, the building had to connect with the remaining natural landscape  - a sort of platform adjacent to the river - and so encourage people to make use of the pathways along the riverbank.

The program is multifunctional. At its core is the Auditorium itself, with its flexibility allowing for a wide range of artistic performances. Exhibition spaces with an independent entrance are planned, while a large surface area will be given over to catering facilities, stage prop storage areas and dressing rooms. Construction is in two phases. First built was the main volume and Auditorium. The second phase will see the completion of the ancillary facilities of the Auditorium - the exhibition and catering areas, stage prop storage spaces and artists’ dressing rooms - but also other areas just outside the main concert hall such as document consulting rooms.

This clean assertive building points eastward. The roof is higher at one end so as to contain the fly tower, sloping gradually to a more standard height at the other. The result is an...

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