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Copper Awards: Shortlist

Civic and Cultural Centre Berriozar, Spain by Garcia Rodriguez Alcoba

This project aims to unite a range of cultural, civic and municipal facilities around the edge of a future square that will shape and define an important new meeting place in Berriozar, a small town in Navarre, in northern Spain.

As a major new urban element, the building effectively anchors and configures the public square, but it is also prominent in its own right, as an architecturally distinctive addition to the existing townscape.

Civic and Cultural Centre Berriozar, Spain by Garcia Rodriguez Alcoba

Civic and Cultural Centre Berriozar, Spain by Garcia Rodriguez Alcoba

It is conceived as a single, forthright volume that folds back on to itself, thereby defining a set of voids and volumes, both inside and outside. This creates a powerful, abstract, sculptural form which is clad in horizontal strips of pre-oxidised copper.

The strips vary in width, adding interest and texture to the facade. Though the copper has a glossy, metallic sheen, it also bestows a gravitas appropriate to the building’s prominent civic role. As well as a cultural centre, the building houses both the town hall and local police headquarters.

Inside, white walls and floors capture the light, emphasising the abstract nature of the architecture. The formal structure consists of a continuous vertical and horizontal prism that configures different areas. The vertical fold, formalised by the tower and the horizontal fold, where the
town hall services and the cultural centre are located, are articulated by voids that connect the different areas. This encourages their use as exhibition areas, waiting rooms and halls for public meetings. The voids are completed by a set of courtyards on the first floor, which capture and funnel light and ventilation into the interior, while also serving as tranquil
enclaves for rest and relaxation.

JURY COMMENTS

This large civic complex, which combines a range of different functions, from town hall to police headquarters, caught the jury’s eye as a dignified addition to its townscape. Jury members were particularly impressed by how it articulates a sense of civic life, through a skilful interplay of solid and void, and how it meshes with the wider urban realm, defining and enclosing new public spaces. In this, copper cladding plays a key part. Copper is used in horizontal strips of varying widths to animate and articulate facades with great finesse.

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