The Pedro Barrié de la Maza Foundation is housed behind the façade of a building designed by Vigo architect Manuel Gómez Román in 1919. The project is a modern, balanced and precise response to the existing container. The fenestration arrangement both conditions and facilitates the resolution of the new office brief using criteria of 'functional flexibility and versatility'.
The brief contemplates the materialization of a 'box of miracles', in which every possible activity can be hosted by stacking a series of multipurpose, dynamic, changing stages. All of the floors are similarly organised in two clearly differentiated blocks: a thin bay parallel to the existing façade and a deeper body inside the block. The smaller first bay is a threshold of respect for the existing building, used as a distribution space on each floor. The rooms for exhibitions and diverse events, as well as the technical core for vertical communication and equipment, are all located in the interior block. Between the two areas are two large glass lifts, with adjustable transparency, that run the full height of the building, resolving the need for fast access to each level of the construction.
On the basis of this organisational model, the proposal maximises the potential flexibility of the building in an attempt to take advantage of its tight dimensions. The most important space in the Foundation is located in the entrance level. This extremely large, tall, flexible, changing lobby is a veritable stage for the activities of the building and it can be transformed by the incorporation of high-end theatrical technology. By changing the floor, juggling panels or making objects and stage curtains descend, it can be used for presentations, exhibitions, concerts, etc. From the ground plan, access is gained via the vertical communications core to the two multipurpose exhibition floors, configured as clear, diaphanous spaces. Finally, the lecture hall is located on the upper floor, featuring a theatre mechanism that enables the seating to be removed, leaving the entire space clear for use as a supplementary exhibition space or a multipurpose workshop.
TECHNICAL DATA. Location: Calle Policarpo Sanz nº 31, Vigo, Spain. Architects: Luis M. Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón. Client: Pedro Barrié de la Maza Foundation. Collaborators: Pablo Gallego, Ricardo Lorenzana, Teresa Cruz and Matilde Peralta. Structural engineers: Alfonso Gómez Gaite. Mechanical engineers: J.G. Asociados. Construction managers: Luis M. Mansilla, Emilio Tuñón and Pablo Gallego. Quantity Surveyor/Technical Architect: Sancho Páramo. Design project: 2003. Work completion: June 2005. Built area: 3000 m². General contractor: Constructora San José S.A. Photographer: Luis Asín.