CAIXAFORUM ZARAGOZA. Museum, Auditorium and Cultural Center
We started the project by thinking about two challenges: how to design a building capable of developing further the city by means of its special nature as well as the public spaces it generates; and secondly, how to construct a building that connects with distant views while you pass through it, but which also allows introspection in the exhibition halls. In other words, that the building continues the development of the city while allowing us to feel part of it as we use it.
We solve both challenges by raising the halls. This opens up the ground floor and there we can locate the more open and transparent areas—the lobby and shop. By extending under the building, we want to generate a public space connecting the park to the city. Moreover, at night this area underneath is illuminated with patterns created by the perforated sheeting.
Under the raised hall a partly sunken garden provides an area into which the auditorium can be evacuated, acts as anteroom as well as providing an open-air catering area. So the auditorium, which is at basement level and accessible from the lobby, could be considered to be partly sunken. Because of the level of the garden, the auditorium has a direct connection to the city.
The two suspended halls are at different levels. So when you come out of one you can look out underneath the other and see the city. We thought that between one hall and the other there should be decompression areas to clear your mind between one exhibition and another. Hence the halls are linked by escalators and routes that offer us distant views.
The cafeteria and restaurant are at the top of the building and have views over the city. The different levels of the halls mean that, on the other side, there is an external bar adjacent to the restaurant. From this terrace there are wonderful views over the meander of the river Ranillas and the area where Expo Zaragoza was held.