FUCKING TRENDIES!

Este texto es parte del artículo publicado en el número de Julio/Agosto #34 de la revista A10 'New European Architecture' :

In March this year, the winner was announced of an ideas competition for the conversion of a disused railway station in the Benlúa district of Alicante into a new home for the Casa Mediterráneo cultural centre. The jury awarded first prize to the proposal submitted by Manuel Ocaña, entitled Malditos Modernos, which loosely translates as ‘damned trendies’. They praised the level of technical innovation, which will enable the building to be adapted to its new use. The Casa Mediterráneo is a publicly funded cultural organization which aims to promote relations between countries around the Mediterranean Basin. Given that the Casa Mediterráneo serves as a meeting point and a place of reflection, where a multitude of cultural messages are disseminated, the architect realized that the new premises would need large, multi-purpose spaces suitable for exhibitions, concerts and a whole range of cultural events.


...........................................................................................© Manuel Ocaña Architects

Covering 3000 m², the centre will consist of a wide central space accented in blue, flanked by two new buildings attached to the existing side elevations. The intricate configuration will accommodate a 400-seat auditorium and offices. The design retains the existing external structure while inserting new, innovative constructions into its interior. The only elements of the original building that the project will preserve are the facade, which is engraved in the collective consciousness of local residents, and, because of its architectural merits, the graceful internal metal structure.


...........................................................................................© Manuel Ocaña Architects

Manuel Ocaña has also used the project to pay homage to Mediterranean decorative elements. He does this by means of engraved, lattice-like surface systems which evoke typical motifs of Mediterranean architecture, while also applying new construction and climate technologies. The resulting homogeneous, light-filled space with glazed blue tile elements, is appropriate both to the building’s cultural environment and the local climate. Conceived as an enormous greenhouse, the building’s various climatic systems are expected to reduce energy consumption by 50%.

The jury’s decision to award first prize to Manuel Ocaña is evidence of a radical change of attitude in defining what is considered contemporary in architectural competitions. The construction of completely new buildings is in decline. Europe’s densely built cities contain countless disused structures that could and should be exploited for such adaptive re-use projects. In addition to such values, a philosophy of sustainability and logical development is required which respects the collective consciousness of the location, the building and the local population. Contemporary architecture can no longer consist only of brand-new innovative forms; it also requires logical design which is consistent with the changes that cities and buildings are undergoing.


Casa Mediterráneo cultural centre, 2009-2010

Architect: Manuel Ocaña Architecture
Client: Casa Mediterráneo
Address: Oscar Esplá Road, Benalúa Train Station, 03008, Alicante, Spain
Info: www.manuelocana.com