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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Cultural Center
  4. Spain
  5. Eisenman Architects
  6. 2011
  7. The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects

The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects

  • 01:00 - 8 June, 2011
The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects
The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects, © Duccio Malagamba
© Duccio Malagamba

© Duccio Malagamba © Duccio Malagamba © Duccio Malagamba © Duccio Malagamba +14

  • Architects

  • Location

    Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Executive Architect

    Andres Perea Ortega and euroestudios
  • Client

    Fundación cidade da cultura de Galicia
  • Project Year

    2011
  • Photographs

From the architect. The City of Culture is a new cultural center for the Province of Galicia in northwestern Spain. Its design evolves from the superposition of three sets of information. First, the street plan of the medieval center of Santiago is overlaid on a topographic map of the hillside site, which overlooks the city. Second, a modern Cartesian grid is laid over these medieval routes. Third, through computer modeling software, the topography of the hillside is allowed to distort the two flat geometries, thus generating a topological surface that repositions old and new in a simultaneous matrix never before seen.

The original center of Santiago conforms to a figure/ground urbanism in which buildings are figural, or solid, and the streets are residual, or void spaces. Through this mapping operation, the project emerges as a curving surface that is neither figure nor ground but both a figured ground and a figured figure that supersede the figure-ground urbanism of the old city. Santiago’s medieval past appears not as a form of representational nostalgia but as a new yet somehow familiar presence found in a new form.

The six buildings of the project are conceived as three pairs: the Museum of Galicia and the International Art Center; the Center for Music and Performing Arts and the Central Services building; and the Library of Galicia and the Galician Archives. Visitors’ experiences of any given building will be affected by its relationship to its immediate partner. The caminos, or pedestrian streets, between the buildings also open onto a public plaza, which is bordered by the six buildings and features landscape and water elements. The largest building is the Performing Arts Theater, which will stand 42.5 meters high. The heights of all of the buildings rise in gentle curves that seem to reconstruct the shape of the hilltop with their collective rooflines, which are all clad in stone and marked with the grids that inform the design of the site.

© Duccio Malagamba
© Duccio Malagamba

The Library of Galicia and Galician Archives opened their doors on January 11, 2011, during a ceremony presided over by the Prince and Princess of Asturias. The 17,372-square-meter Library will accommodate one million books in open stacks, rare book archives, and storerooms on several levels. The 14,149-square-meter Archive includes spaces for research and exhibition. Both the Library and the Archive are clad in quartzite and feature unique curtain walls. The museum and administration buildings are expected to open in late fall 2011.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects" 08 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/141238/the-city-of-culture-eisenman-architects/>
Read comments

59 Comments

jskayu · June 07, 2016

What's the figure/ground urbanism?

Rodrigo Vivar · October 24, 2015

There is simply no logic or purpose to this building whatsoever. Spain's corrupt political class has not helped matters. The project is half built and I sincerely hope they don't waste any more money on what is a white elephant. The Spanish and European tax payer has had to foot the bill. Spain's "Fiscalia del Estado " should initiate legal proceedings (and I fail to understand why the haven't to date) to reclaim all the money squandered. If the Spanish judiciary fails to act on this, then its the European institutions that should act givens Spain's reluctance carry out due diligence.
What has been built is constantly having to be repaired and maintained, thus the flaws in the project are many. Eisenman Arquitects may well argue" but... the project is not finished yet". Thank God that's not the case. I can appreciate that Eisenman Arquitects have a business and they submit their project for approval and this was granted by the Autonomous Government of Galicia/Spain under the heading "easy come easy go". The local and national Government failed to ask they basic question: What the hell are we going to do with it...once built !? Does Mr Eisenman know the usage we can apply to the same?? Why does Arquitecture have to be surrealistic, without a conscience without a purpose or usage but the aesthetic???

Lynda Rive · September 24, 2012

I have just returned from walking the Camino Santiago and did take a day to visit "The City of Culture". I was very impressed and look forward to the time when it is finished and is all that it was planned to be. I loved the exhibits and found the unique perspective of look at civilization through stone so enlightening. I love the simplicity of the displays. The videos were so well done. I spent 4 hours and feel I only touched the surface of what there is to see.
One slight critique, some of the background sounds were a little loud so I was unable to hear some to the dialogue on the interactive program that was in the room.
A great forward thinking project and wonderful buildings too.

houk · July 14, 2012

Terribly out of proportion, unfinished and unused. The promoters are as responsible as the architect who said this would cost much cheaper than it did.

Tero · May 04, 2012

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JOAOMIGUELFIGUE · November 14, 2011

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arq. Leonardo Díaz · November 03, 2011

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intelarq.com · September 05, 2011

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Pablo de Dios · July 07, 2011

Espacialmente es espectacular, pero el tufo postmoderno es innegable http://t.co/hx8L9Qa Lo mejor: las "calles" de la "ciudad".

Pablo de Dios · July 07, 2011

Espacialmente es espectacular, pero el tufo postmoderno es innegable http://t.co/hx8L9Qa Lo mejor: las "calles" de la "ciudad".

Carol · June 29, 2011

Conceptually thi is a great project, in reality, it fell short of the mark

???? · June 13, 2011

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André · June 13, 2011

forzado e innecesario

Jyung Hwa Jin (???) · June 12, 2011

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Architects for Peace · June 10, 2011

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twitengineer · June 10, 2011

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Helena Degreas · June 10, 2011

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Panos Dragonas · June 10, 2011

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Jorge Loor Ocampo · June 10, 2011

Ya está lista la Ciudad de la Cultura de Eisenman en Santiago de Compostela. http://bit.ly/mJaVId

meysam isf · June 10, 2011

????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????? ?????!!! ?? ????? ?????? ????!!

Daniel Nissimov · June 09, 2011

Leave it to the grandfather of contemporary American architectural discourse to produce a well built yet frequently contested 'project' on architecture. If you have heard Peter Eisenman lecture you know that he dwells in abstract logic and loves loves loves projecting grids around, through and/or inside of volumes to create space. What I find more interesting then the 'project' on the grid is Eisenman's claim that we are in a period of 'lateness' which he claims makes us, "time-less, place-less and sense-less". Well, I prefer a critical model of acceleration rather than negation similar to that put forth by Bjarke Ingels. Is yes really more?

Franz Spitaler · June 09, 2011

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bLogHouse · June 09, 2011

1 part Aronoff Center, 2 parts Columbus Convention Center, a couple table spoons of trendy earth forms. Shake. Sprinkle with catchy words implying a robust mathematically proven concept and enjoy - the reliable Eisenman cocktail, very expensive and very successful among snobs

Daniel · June 09, 2011

The program seems a bit ambiguous for a project with such high cost and large footprint. However, it seems 1:1 with Eisenman's 'Cities of Artificial Excavation: The Work of Peter Eisenman, 1978–1988' which was exhibited well before he was commissioned for this project.

Gosia Kung, AIA · June 09, 2011

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Likwid · June 09, 2011

7 years late ... four time budget ... superstar architecture ... it deserves no consideration ...

David Neustein · June 09, 2011

Eisenman&#39s City of Culture complex looks like it is full of some exceptionally redundant spaces. He must be so proud. http://bit.ly/kc6YqT

Boughton Butler · June 09, 2011

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Carlos Di Nápoli · June 09, 2011

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RL · June 09, 2011

Scary and non-sensical.

??? · June 09, 2011

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Mafer Baruta · June 09, 2011

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watabetakahiro · June 09, 2011

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Ale Gaddor · June 09, 2011

i liked the conceptual model,,, the real result is dissapointing,,,, and the exterior material too... it's not a great piece of art

Andr?s M?sz?ros · June 09, 2011 09:16 PM

Sadly Eisenmans designs always ends up looking cheap. His models may look pretty, but when they're getting built, and have to materialize after all they never make it. My guess is that becouse the huge amount of money they always cost just becouse of their shapes, and sizes. So they always end up using cheap looking materials for the finishes (especially in it's interiors).

I can't think of anything from him which looks great after the construction process.

Altough he had a serious influence on architecture in the 90's, nowadays he's really the past of architecture i think. Or how else it is possible to chop off the top of a hill, just to rebuild its surface as a building? Is that really makes architecture closer to nature? Unfortunately it hasn't got anything to do with what architecture has to deal nowadays.

And I'm not glad to say this (im not really an enemy of him:)), i even like some of his theories and projects (on paper:D).

Architecture · June 09, 2011

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leoajadeh · June 09, 2011

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Formula · June 09, 2011

haters gonna hate (?)

Eisenman did it again, for bad

Dean Santillan · June 09, 2011

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Tyler Seth Collins · June 09, 2011

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john · June 09, 2011

that gotta be skatepark!

Erica Riva · June 09, 2011

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Lúcia Serrano · June 09, 2011

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Erik Joya · June 09, 2011

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Leonardo Ximenes · June 09, 2011

Horrible design, but design here is what matters less. This is plainly and simply a move to garner political attention using public funds. In this day and age, anyone who builds a building without a program and using someone else's money should be put to jail. I'd gladly include the 'architect' in the lot.

up_today_arch · June 08, 2011

I like this looks-like-a-wave approach ... but it is very unexpected Eisenman....
and also I feel contradiction between visible part of structure and wavy surfaces.

Andreas · June 08, 2011

Eisenman! Finally! Superimposition, superseding and sexy! YESSS

Chris · June 08, 2011

Pretty cool concept, and I like the plans and some of the interior and exterior spaces but I just don't like the overall form. Seems a bit too amorphous for my liking.

JWim · June 08, 2011 11:06 PM

The "amorphous" form isn't explained well in the article. They chopped the top off of a hill, and then derived form from the previously existing topography, 1:1. I attended an Eisenman lecture where he explained the architecture, and this is basically how he described it.

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