Manresa City Hall / BailoRull ADD+ Arquitectura

Architects: ADD+ Arquitectura – Manuel Bailo Esteve, Rosa Rull Bertran
Location: Manresa,
Collaborators: J. Maroto, N. Canas, N. Font, E. Grammont, M. Hita, A. Mañosa, A. Marin, M. Rull, J. Palá, M. Berasategui, M. Camallonga, A. Rovira
Structure: M. Cabestany
Budget: US $1,301,558
Project year: 2005-2006
Construction year: 2006-2007

We’d like to thank the photographer Duccio Malagamba for shearing with us this great photo set. We invite you all to visit his website to see some other projects.

We have understood Manresa as the city that one day settled itself on a hill bordering the river Cardener, in front of Montserrat mountains. The City Hall building stands near the edge of the platform that, occupied by the historic quarter, juts out towards the river and faces Montserrat.

The main facade overlooks the central city plaza, and is the terminus of the main routes that cut through the historic centre. The back facade occupies the limit we are talking about, where the topography drops rapidly down towards the river.

The new communication core in this back facade of the City Hall building, resolves simultaneously the closing of the building, which is nowadays in ruins. Considering its situation in the building, in the city and in the territory, we have focused the tensions of its emplacement into the design of this piece: continuity with the historic quarter and connection with its surrounding landscape.

The proposed stair may be understood as segments of these routes, that crossing the building of the City Hall, pass through it and try to extend themselves further on as cantilevers towards the river. A panorama staircase, an intervention between the city and the territory.

The enclosing wall that creates the spaces of the stair, the elevator, the occasional viewpoints and the existing and future facilities, will adapt its shape to the occupied and necessary spaces, avoiding the generation of emptiness. And it does not pretend to be understood as a cladding added from the outside, but as a material extension of the existing facade that, in some cases, adapts some occasional geometries.

For these reasons, we propose its construction as the re-dressing of a basic structure with materials that dialogue with the existing building and the historic quarter: wood or simply revoked panels, and sometimes glass.

The structure of the staircases and landings is the triangulated facade, and rests on the ground while it is fixed to some frames. This frames, anchored in the building, allow the existing windows to approach the new limits of the facade.

Graft and mutation

In the attempt to transform the conditions of the site, we propose the graft added to the action. This transformation can not be configured a priori.

Graft. Grafts have always a reference to the site, that is neither continuing nor semantic. It is a recycling that creates a symbiosis between project and site.

Action. We believe in the processes that are headed by transforming actions.

The word “action” charges the graft with meaning, concentrates the approaches to the project, and let us propose its own system.

Cite: "Manresa City Hall / BailoRull ADD+ Arquitectura" 24 Mar 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • richie

    good work, nice intervention.I like the old, the flat, and the fraction.

  • odris

    very good project

  • dgman

    from outside realy nice…inside: not my taste…

  • Opium

    somebody is seeing too much lebbeus woods

  • Rafael

    What is this? 1993?

    Nothing to see here, keep moving people.

  • bc

    ?? yah, like to see something of yours …

  • m ss ng v w l

    it’s the love child of grimshaw and tekuto

  • LargoJax

    I agree with Rafael. Put plainly – hideous!

  • Mago

    where do all the weird shapes come from? what do they respondo to? I mean, they talk about “tensions of its emplacement into the design of this piece: continuity with the historic quarter and connection with its surrounding landscape.” But is there anything in the context that may sugest such an agressive reaction towards the city? the decisions are too subjective and the shapes so random that could not be understood without the architects’ explanation. Explanations that should be unnecessary if we were talking about objective, clear, clean and good architecture.

  • Henry

    respond ….to creative & artistic impulse…!

    You are not so young ….to make so conservative coments ?

  • utopianrobot

    does the town know there is a tumor growing on the rear of their building? i’m surprised that the city had enough money to pay for something like this or that they agreed to it at all. conceptually it’s pretty lame. a simple and functional neo-classical staircase could have easily “closed” the rear and provide adequate views of the landscape beyond. grafting is a strange metaphor too because it implies growth and healing, at least in it’s traditional sense but this is more like post-modern ooze pouring out of the rear facade. if it was grafted on i’d like to see the fresh graft and some interesting expansion joints where it touches the original building.

  • hugo

    OMG this is the most horrible think that i ever seen.. clearly a tumor growing.. oh.. too bad to be real.. lets put this murder behind bars please….

  • P

    So much money and effort wasted for such little effect.
    It facing backyard!
    Beside, structure joints are sooo ugly.