Cisnera Community Centre / gpy arquitectos

© Joaquín Ponce de León

Architects: gpy arquitectos
Location: Tenerife, Spain
Project Team: Juan Antonio González Pérez & Urbano Yanes Tuña
Technical Architect: José Ángel Yanes Tuña
Engineering: Gpi Ingenieros
Client: Cabildo Insular de Tenerife
Contractor: JOCA Ingeniería y Construcciones S.A
Project Area: 497.55 sqm
Budget: 417,982 €
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Joaquín Ponce de León

© Joaquín Ponce de León © Joaquín Ponce de León © Joaquín Ponce de León © Joaquín Ponce de León

La Cisnera is a small, rural settlement that has grown up along a roadside in the upper reaches of the town of Arico, located in the south-east of the Island of Tenerife.

The new Community Centre relates to its surroundings, with the main entrance placed at the level of the town’s main square, alongside the Chapel of San José Obrero, and the line of the rooftop extending along the road at an inverse angle until it merges with that of the enclosure wall.

situation plan
situation plan
© Joaquín Ponce de León
© Joaquín Ponce de León

The building is meant to be seen as an extension of the urban public space, and offers a sheltered environment for the town square, onto which it opens. The intention was to offer a flexible delimitation of the spaces outlined in the brief, using mobile partition walls to allow for a free, modular configuration of the space for different uses and activities, thereby ensuring its integration as a singular meeting space and its extension outward to the square.

This configuration, which allows for an intense, varied use of the space, is what lends the new centre its character as a public place, fostering the use of the urban space around the chapel and square as a meeting point and place for social interaction, while maintaining the small chapel as a unique element, an essential part of the whole.

© Joaquín Ponce de León
© Joaquín Ponce de León

The building has been constructed by means of a dialogue between two skins; a continuous, abstract, exterior wrapping in white and a warm, interior wrapping made of .

The building’s exterior wrapping folds at times to allow access to the centre and frame the view of the surrounding landscape from the square, and vice versa. It has been finished with a continuous, manually-applied coating of rough plaster using the local volcanic aggregate (“jable”). The micro-alveolic nature of this aggregate offers a high degree of insulation from the heat, and the light colour of the finish dissipates the sun’s intense rays.

The interior wooden skin unfolds into multiple configurations, allowing for an optimal use of the inner space – as a covered square, screening room, common room, games room, etc.

© Joaquín Ponce de León
© Joaquín Ponce de León

The space between the two skins, of variable thickness, houses the fixed installations (computer lab, washrooms, pantry) and the storage rooms.

The orientation of the main entrance and the window frame defining the building’s edge blocks the entry of direct sunlight into the main room, making it luminous and cool – a shady, protected place on the square.

Cite: "Cisnera Community Centre / gpy arquitectos" 02 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • gorgos

    It really reacts to the square. The picture with the people in the evening show how the inside becomes a part of the square.

    The church and the attributes and fences on the square on itself are rather kitsch. Not an easy task.

  • MAya

    Great Job¡¡
    nice blend

  • Arquipablo

    I posted in PA…and I say it again…..simply and with a lot of sensibility….things not easy to find in this times…..

  • laar

    architecture is a shell for activities. very impressive!

  • Michael

    Beautiful building.
    Well sited.
    Sits really well with the church.
    Excellent job.

  • peppy

    I love the night view with people. It show the new building fits with the events of daily life…
    good job!…

  • Katsudon

    Awesome project! The mix of architecture isn’t shocking at all. It’s really great integration by the outside plaza’s proportion that make’s an additionnal room of it!

    And the photographer is really impressive too!


  • Love

    nice job!