Architects: AMID (Cero9) / Cristina Díaz Moreno + Efrén García Grinda Location: Jerte Valley, Cáceres, Spain Client: Consejería de Cultura y Turismo, Junta de Extremadura. Program: Cherry Tree Fair and Convention Centre in the Jerte Valley Competition Team: Luis Cabrejas Guijarro, Jorge Saz Semolino, José Quintanar Iniesta, Bruno Gomes, Mireia Luzárraga. Project Team: Jorge Saz Semolino, Alex Muiño, Mireia Luzárraga, Margarita Martínez, José Quintanar, Dora Joana Moreira da Costa y Manu Jimenez. Models: Jorge Queipo and AMID (Cero9) Project Year: 2008 Images: AMID (Cero9)
There is nothing more absurd for the Centre of the Fiesta del Cerezo (Cherry Tree Day) than blindly importing models designed for other locations and purposes. Words such as ‘Theatre’, ‘Auditorium’, ‘Convention Centre’ or ‘Conference Hall’ lack any meaning whatsoever in the context of the celebration of a popular holiday involving agriculture, in an artificialised setting with a long history that dates back to at least the 18th century. Neither the urban typological models for halls nor the events that take place therein nor their organisation or formal or material definitions mean anything in this case.
Our proposal for the Fiesta del Cerezo involves the development of a contemporary chapel, a building that establishes a close bond with the environment through its presence, position, volume and material. An assertive building, one that does not refuse to relate with the entire valley and whose scale provides a reference point within said valley. A church for pilgrims, a chapel, a lay Ronchamp, a San Baudelio de Berlanga that floats among the landscape, a Saint Chapelle in Paris that is raised from the ground and that makes the ascension to the main hall a spectacle for the senses and a tool to become one with the surrounding landscape. A hybrid between a man-made cavern with large openings to let light in, amongst cherry trees in bloom, and high-technology scenic machinery, both solid and inexpensive, in plain view for everybody. A rock with biological and natural associations in the midst of the specialisation of the surrounding terrain of terraces and cherry trees. A strange hybrid that cannot be called a theatre or an auditorium any longer. A building that can remain closed for months and opened for the day or for the Otoñada (autumn season), in the same way as a church on a pilgrimage day.
Our proposal for this landscape that shifts colours during the year is a ceramic building whose large glistening tiles overlap the fog and provide a contrast with the changes in colour of the valley, from green to red to white.
The main room explores the greatest possible versatility with conventional and technically tested means. The purpose of the configuration selected is to create a room with a flat floor that is compatible with the required occupancy level. The typology of the European concert halls of the 18th century, with their flat stall, short top amphitheatre and high stage, has thus been used as a basis.
The enclosing shell is a three-dimensional structure of interwoven steel plate girders with high depth and slenderness. They form lozenges, triangles and pentagons and ensure a similar behaviour to that of a dome. The shell is lined with flat scales formed by ceramic pieces that fit the initial geometry with different sizes, as a function of the curvature of the surface. This is replicated towards the inside with a mosaic of lozenges, triangles and pentagons that serve to fine-tune the acoustics of the hall.
There is nothing more natural in this environment than building terraces to house the activities of this open-air holiday. These terraces adapt to the size of the groups of people and to the activities that take place within them in the same way as they now adapt to the size of the cherry trees and to the slopes. These new terraces shall apply the construction laws of the valley itself and shall be a visual, material and spatial extension of the existing terraces.
Since this landscape has a strong significance for its inhabitants -they built it, they live off what it produces and they work in it all year round- and their culture is rooted in it, our proposal is based on joining all these qualities and redescribing the landscape of the valley.