Text description provided by the architects. Eneseis Arquitectura designed a cultural centre in the heart of the old town in the “El Claustro” square of San Nicolas Co-cathedral in Alicante, Spain. The strategic point in the center of social and cultural life provides a space for the public to find resources about the city, as well as be exposed to works of art in showrooms and ateliers.
“El Claustro” is a space that provides historical and tourist value to the city, and expresses the rich culture of the architecture in the area. During the day it is an attraction for inhabitants and visitors alike. At night, the square transforms into a highly social environment that the citizens of Alicante can visit for its myriad selection of terraces, pubs, bars and restaurants.
El Claustro shares the ground plane with San Nicolas, but is a deep-set urban space open on all sides. Eneseis Arquitectura designed the project under the premise that the city center would preserve its distinct qualities in night and day while creating a space that dignifies and protects the block of the Co-cathedral, respects the old town’s urban matrix of dense and narrow streets, and uses the conditions of the closed and inward looking cloister to give contextual meaning to the intervention.
The building presents a dualism in its relationship to the city in its historic condition and in the present technological state of the city. On the street level the stone square is preserved in its materiality and weight. The building breaks the ground, rises to the roof of the top floor in a modern material of glass and metal. It responds both to the needs of a level of preservation, while justifying its present state in the technological advances of the time.
Where the building meets the street it is an informational interface and display that is open for public use. When it is closed, the display can be seen and heard through the video and sound projected into the public space. At this level, the building completes the block and closes the cloister as required.
At the lower level, the building provides spaces for showrooms and ateliers which have moving walls that can be adjusted to fit various needs of artists and curators. These private spaces can be reintroduced to the public life where activities in these rooms can be project in real-time on the square, which makes visible the creative process and improves the connection between the activities within the building and the square.
The building is constructed through a connected organized system that controls structure, distributes space, operates information systems, hosts furniture and makes up the walls themselves. The system can adapt to future needs and can be assembled and disassembled as needed.