x

AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION CENTRE

Mérida, Spain 1999-2004

x

AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION CENTRE

Mérida, Spain 1999-2004

The crossroads of cultures in the history of Mérida are still recognizable in the current city, in the buildings and archaeological remains of the Roman, Visigothic, Arabic, and Christian eras. In Mérida, the ancient capital of Lusitania, it is the remnants of the Roman era that probably best symbolize the overall presence of the past. The irregular construction technique of the old Roman walls—opus incertum—represents in its rough texture the material atmosphere that one perceives when visiting the ruins throughout the city. At the same time, it also manifests in metaphorical terms the discontinuities that characterize the city’s present urban structure.
 
The Auditorium and Congress Center aims at responding to both issues, on the one hand merging with the texture of the ancient city as if it were an uncertain and timeless archaeological remain, and on the other hand reacting to its privileged location on the western bank of the Guadiana River overlooking the contemporary city center. The project not only had to resolve a complex program for symphonic music, theater, opera, and exhibitions; it also was supposed to convey a powerful symbolic urban image as an integral part of the notorious set of modern and ancient architecture in Mérida. Conceived as a massive piece, with an expansive, open interior forming large public spaces, the building becomes a raised terrace that looks out toward the river and thus articulates the key elements of the program. While the Congress Center is based on a unitary concept, its three main areas-the main hall, the minor hall, and the exhibition spaceseach with its own separate entrance, may be regarded and used independently. The main hall accommodating 1,000 spectators has a rectangular plan and a variably inclined seating area with entrances from both the exterior terrace and the street. Careful attention to the acoustic qualities of the hall was translated into the design of the suspended ceiling with zinc-clad wooden panels.
 
The material used on the exterior façades deserves special mention, not only because it shapes the building’s image, but also because it represents the essence of the project’s theme. What one perceives, externally, as a solid volume, is, in fact, constructed from a modulated structural framework of reinforced concrete, with an enclosure of large pre-cast concrete panels. Like the opus incertum of ancient Roman buildings, this heavily textured and pigmented concrete expresses a rough, uneven outer surface that contrasts with the smooth metal and glass finish of the two auditorium boxes. To obtain the façade’s distinct character, five rubber molds were made from a single original bas-relief designed by the artist Esther Pizarro, and then arranged in four basic groups. This generates a combinatory system that permits a transition from the individuality of a sculptural work to an industrialized construction process. Consequently, the building is characterized by the continuity of one single material that is contemporary in its construction technique while also being reminiscent of the ancient walls inherited from the Roman history of Mérida.
 
 
The Congress Center joins the west bank of the Guadiana River, blending art and construction in a single industrialized process to become a resounding work. It is at once attentive to the quality of architectural space in its interior and conscious of the role of contemporary architecture in its relation to the city and its history.
x

AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION CENTRE

Mérida, Spain 1999-2004

Location
Mérida, Spain
Client
Government of Extremadura
Architects 
Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos S.L.P.
Artistic intervention in façade
Esther Pizarro
Program
Auditorium and convention center
Total floor area
9,657 m²
Project architect
Carlos Ballesteros
Project team
Denis Bouvier, Mauro Herrero, Pedro Quero, Juan Carlos Redondo
Site supervision
Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos S.L.P.
Miguel Mesas
Fernando Benito, Pedro Miranda, José Luis Periáñez, Miguel Rica
Structural engineer
N.B.35, S.L.
Mechanical engineer
Geasyt, S.A.
Acoustic consultant
Arau Acustica
Photographs
Roland Halbe
Fernando Alda
Models
Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos
Juan de Dios Hernández—Jesús Rey
Project dates
Competition: 1999
Completion: 2004
x

AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION CENTRE

Mérida, Spain 1999-2004

Monograph NS. 2014
Fuensanta Nieto Enrique Sobejano Architetture
Published by Electa Architecttura. Milan, Italy
Authors: Fuensanta Nieto & Enrique Sobejano
ISBN: 978-88-9180-228-6
Page: 48 – 53
 
Monograph NIETO SOBEJANO. MEMORY AND INVENTION. 2013
Published by Hatje Cantz Verlag. Ostfildern, Germany
Authors: Fuensanta Nieto & Enrique Sobejano
ISBN: 978-3-7757-3619-0
Page: 80 – 91 
 
Book SPAIN BUILDS. 2015
Arquitectura en España 1975-2015
Published by Arquitectura Viva, S.L. Madrid, Spain
Author: Luis Fernández-Galiano
ISBN: 978-84-606-7297-5
Article: Los pismas impávidos: estrategias de continuidad ante la crisis / Impassive Prisms: Strategies of Continuity before the Crisis
Page: 166                                                                                                                                                                  
Catalogue Exhibition BS+ ARQUITECTURA ESPAÑOLA 1975-2010. 2012
35 + “Construyendo en Democracia”
Published by Antonio Ruiz Barbarín & Ministerio de Fomento. Madrid, Spain
ISBN-10: 84-615-6173-2
ISBN-13: 978-84-615-6173-5
Page: 140
 
Book ARCHITECTURE A WOMAN`S PROFESSION. 2011
Published by Jovis Verlag GmbH. Berlin, Germany
Author: Tanja Kullack
ISBN: 978-3-86859-086-9
Page: 96 – 103
 
Magazine ARQUITECTURA ESPAÑOLA / SPANISH ARCHITECTURE 1997-2008. 2010
Published by CA-GROUP. Shanghai, China
ISSN: 1683-0717
Page: 184 – 189
 
Magazine ART nº 7. 2010
Published by Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG. Hamburg, Germany
ISSN: 0173-2781
Article: Die Moderne spricht spanisch
Author: Till Briegleb
Page: 72 – 73
 
Magazine HÄUSER nº 2. 2009
Published by Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG. Hamburg, Germany
ISSN: 0173-2781
Article: Die Raumschöpfer
Author: Jürgen Tietz
Page: 112 – 116
 
Magazine IIC. L`INDUSTRIA ITALIANA DEL CEMENTO nº 1. 2009 
Published by Pubblicemento s.r.l. Rome, Italy
ISSN: 0019-7637 
Article: L`Auditorium fortalezza / The fortress Auditorium
Author: Marco Santacesaria
Page: 8 – 17 
 
Magazine SPEECH: OPHAMEHT nº 1. 2008
Published by SPEECH Tchoban & Kuznetsov. Moscow, Russia
ISBN: 978-3-86922-071-0
Page: 122 – 135 
 
Book SPANISH ARCHITECTURE (1997-2007). 2008
Published by CA-Group. Shanghai, China
ISBN: 978-7-5083-5690-7
Page: 168 – 173
 
Magazine FQ Business Magazine nº 20. 2008
Editada por HKN Hakingen Corporation, S.L. Madrid, Spain
Legal Deposit: M-20011-2006
Article: Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos
Page: 10 – 11
 
Magazine RD2 nº 59. 2007
Published by Colegio de Arquitectos de Buenos Aires. Argentina
Reg.: 317482 
Page: Cover, 110 – 115
 
GUÍA DE ARQUITECTURA DE EXTREMADURA 1975-2006. 2007
Published by Agencia Extremeña de la Vivienda, el Urbanismo y el Territorio de la Junta de Extremadura. Mérida, Spain
ISBN: 978-84-606-4278-7
Page: 50 – 51
 
Book ARQUITECTURA ESPAÑOLA CONTEMPORÁNEA. LA OTRA MODERNIDAD. 2007
Published by Lunwerg. Barcelona, Spain
ISBN: 978-84-9785-383-5
Page: 296 – 300
 
Book ES / ARCHITECTURE IN SPAIN. 2007
Published by Taschen. Cologne, Germany
ISBN: 978-3-8228-5262-0
Page: 152 – 159
 
Magazine BETONART nº 15. 2007
Published by TÇMB. Ankara, Turkey
ISSN: 1304-4931
Page: 24 – 28 
 
Magazine N-TÉCNICAS DE VANGUARDIA CONSTRUCTIVAS nº 12. 2007
Published by Activos Industriales. Cantabria, Spain
Legal Deposit: SA-1119-2004
Article: Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de Mérida. Contundencia inmemorial
Author: Patricia Domingo
Page: 42 – 45
 
Magazine ARKITEKTEN nº 04. 2007
Published by Birgitte Kleis, Eric Juul, Lars Nevald y Sille Kroyer Koppel. København, Denmark
ISSN: 0004-198X 
Article: Spansk Saerpraeg
Author: Maria Gomez-Guillamon
Page: 46 – 47
 
Magazine FUTURE ARQUITECTURAS nº 6. 2007
Published by Future Arquitecturas, S.L. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 1885-8228
Page: 90 – 101
 
Magazine A+U nº 437. 2007
Theater & Hall
Published by a+u Publishing Co. Ltd. Tokyo, Japan
ISSN: 0389-9160
Page: 42 – 46
 
Magazine AMC Le Moniteur Architecture nº 161. 2006
Published by Groupe Moniteur. Paris, France
Article: Beton Prefabrique
Author: Par Karine Dana
Page: 120 – 121
 
Magazine ARQUINE nº 35. 2006
Published by Arquine, SA de CV. México
ISSN: 1405-6151
Page: 56 – 65
 
Magazine ARQUITECTURA COAM nº 343. 2006
Published by Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid. Spain
ISSN: 0004-2706
Article: Entre la lógica y la intuición: La arquitectura reciente de Fuensanta Nieto y Enrique Sobejano
Author: William J.R. Curtis
Page: 8 – 33
 
Magazine AV MONOGRAFIAS/MONOGRAPHS nº 113. 2006
Spain Builds. Arquitectura en España 1975-2005
Published by Arquitectura Viva, S.L. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 0213-487X 
Article: Los pismas impávidos: estrategias de continuidad ante la crisis / Impassive Prisms: Strategies of Continuity before the Crisis
Page: 162
 
Magazine ARQUITECTURA VIVA. MoMA. 2006
Spain Builds. Arquitectura en España 1975-2005
Published by Arquitectura Viva, S.L. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 0214-1256
Article: Los pismas impávidos: estrategias de continuidad ante la crisis / Impassive Prisms: Strategies of Continuity before the Crisis
Page: 168, 186
 
Magazine DETAIL nº 6. 2006
IW Magazine Special Issue 
Published by Ge-Min Cheng. China
Page: 112 – 121
 
Magazine ARTE Y CEMENTO nº 19. 2005 
Published by Reed Business Information, S.A. Barcelona, Spain
ISSN: 0212-8578
Page: 102 – 105 
 
Magazine  EQUIPAMIENTOS CULTURALES nº 23. 2005
Published by Carlos Gonzalbo & Asociados S.L. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 1136-8896 
Page: 109 – 114
 
Magazine DESCUBRIR EL ARTE nº 81. 2005
Published by Arianza Ediciones, S. A. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 1578-9047
Article: Topografías Urbanas
Author: Fernando Castro Flórez
Page: 38
 
Magazine DBZ Deutsche BauZeitschrift nº 9. 2005
Published by Bauverlag BV GmbH. Gütersloh, Germany
ISSN: 0011-4782
Page: 44 – 49    
 
Catalogue EURASIA EXTREMA. 2005
Diálogos arquitectónicos transcontinentales
Published by Sociedad Estatal para Exposiciones Internacionales, S.A. y Arquitectura Viva, S.L. Madrid, Spain
ISBN: 2910010673768  
 
Magazine BAUWELT nº 20. 2005
Published by Bertelsmann Springer Bauverlag GmbH. Gütersloh, Germany 
ISSN: 0005-6855 
Page: 26 – 31 
 
Catalogue PREMIOS FAD 2005 
Published by On Diseño, S.L. Barcelona, Spain
Page: 106 – 109
 
Magazine ON DISEÑO nº 260. 2005
Published by On Diseño, S.L. Barcelona, Spain
ISSN: 0210-2080 
Page: 222 – 235
 
Magazine IW MAGAZINE nº 42. 2005
Published by IW Magazine. Taiwan, China
ISSN: 1561-3909
Page: 88 – 95
 
Magazine EL VIAJERO. 05.03.2005
Extra newspaper EL PAIS. Spain
Article: Los nuevos inventores de Mérida
Author: Rafael Fernández Bermejo
Page: 5
 
Magazine CASABELLA nº 730. 2005
Published by Arnoldo Mondadori. Milan, Italy
ISSN: 0008-7181 
Page: 76 – 83
 
Magazine AREA nº 77. 2004
Published by Gruppo Editoriale Motta. Milan, Italy
ISSN: 0394-0055 
Page: 84 – 95
 
Magazine HNA nº 14. 2004
Published by hna. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 1578-424X 
Page: 18 – 24
 
Monograph TC CUADERNOS nº 66. 2004
Published by Ediciones Generales de la Construcción, Valencia, Spain
ISBN: 1136-906X                                                                                                  
Magazine WALLPAPER nº 74. 2004
Internacional Design Interiors Lifestyle
Published by Wallpaper Group, IPC Media Ltd. London, United Kingdom
ISSN: 1364-4475
Page: 50 – 51
 
Magazine AV MONOGRAFIAS / MONOGRAPHS nº 105/106. 2004
Spain Yearbook
Published by Arquitectura Viva, S.L. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 0213-487X 
Page: 24 – 31
 
Magazine ARCHITEKTUR AKTUELL nº 11. 2004
Published by Springer-Verlag GmbH. Vienna, Austria
ISSN: 0570-6602
Page: 74 – 87
 
Newspaper EL PERIÓDICO Extremadura. 26.05.2004 
Article: Extremadura creará su propia red de Palacios de Congresos
Author: Javier Álvarez Amaro
Page: 2 – 3
 
Newspaper DIARIO HOY. 26.05.2004
Article: La ciudad se abre a la región y al mundo con el Palacio de Congresos
Author: Juan Soriano Redondo
Page: 2 – 3
 
Magazine EL CULTURAL. 20/26.05.2004
Extra newspaper EL MUNDO. Spain
Article: Nuevo relieve de Mérida
Author: Antón García-Abril
Page: 38
 
Magazine EL CROQUIS nº 119. 2004
Work Systems / Sistemas de trabajo
Published by El Croquis Editorial. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 0212-5633
Article: The Intermittent Project (Fiction and Invention)
Page: 266 – 287
 
Magazine BLANCO Y NEGRO CULTURAL. 06.12.2003
Extra newspaper ABC. Spain
Article: Esther Pizarro
Author: María García Chelo
Page: 30
 
Magazine ART.ES nº 0. 2003
Internacional_art_magazine 
Published by Salamir Creación y Arte, S.L. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 1697-008X  
Page: 31
 
Book/CD EL HAZ Y EL ENVÉS. 2003
A sculptural-architectural collaboration
Esther Pizarro, Fuensanta Nieto, Enrique Sobejano
Article: Mapa-patrón-territorio
Author: Fernando Castro Flórez
Page: 3 – 15 
 
Catalogue ESTHER PIZARRO. 2003
Mapificar
Published by Ayuntamiento de Granada. Spain
Legal Deposit: Gr 836–2003
Page: 18 – 21 
 
Book IN PROGRESS/ EN PROCESO. 2002
Published by El Croquis Editorial. Madrid, Spain
ISBN: 9788488386250
Page: 606 – 619
 
Magazine METALOCUS nº 10. 2002
Published by Barba, J.J / Papadopoulos, Spiros. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 1139-6415
Page: 54 – 61
 
Magazine APAREJADORES Y ARQUITECTOS TÉCNICOS nº 22. 2002
Published by Colegio Oficial de Aparejadores y Arquitectos Técnicos de Cáceres. Spain
ISSN: 1577-0133
Page: 21 – 25
 
Magazine ARQ/A nº 15. 2002
Published by Futurmagazine. Lisboa, Portugal
ISBN: 151722100
Page: 30 – 35
 
Magazine EL CROQUIS nº 106/107. 2001
En proceso / In progress
Published by El Croquis Editorial. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 0212-5633
Page: 370 – 383
 
Magazine HABITEX nº 9. 2001                             
Published by Lourdes Santos Durán. Cáceres, Spain
ISSN: 1578-1445
Page: 14 – 17
 
Book SPANISH PAVILION. 2000
7 Mostra Di Architettura. Biennale di Venecia 2000
Published by Electa España, S.A. Spain
ISBN: 84-8156-297-1 (English edition)
ISBN: 84-8156-296-3 (Spanish edition)
Page: 216 – 221
 
Magazine ARQUITECTURA VIVA nº 68. 1999
Published by Arquitectura Viva, S.L. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 0214-1256
Page: 13
 
Magazine PASAJES DE ARQUITECTURA Y CRÍTICA nº 11. 1999
Published by América Ibérica. Madrid, Spain
ISSN: 1575-1937
Page: 12
 
x

AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION CENTRE

Mérida, Spain 1999-2004

Finalist Premios FAD. 2005