Studio Banana TV features the Canal Theater building in Madrid with explanations by its author, Spanish architect Juan Navarro Baldeweg.
Many requests converge in the theater Canal in Madrid. First, the intrinsic nature of its program calls for the creation of an illusionary space, a fantasy world, that is, for the imaginary as the substance of the project. Second, the exceptional nature of the characteristic function of a building that invokes that imaginary world and is located in a somewhat nondescript and neglected urban area, demands a bold and formally rich response, whose intrinsic vitality will breathe life into the intersection of Bravo Murillo and Cea Bermúdez Streets, making it stand out. Third, the theater activity requires both integration and segregation simultaneously. Urban life should be attracted to it, but there must also be a separation, a discontinuity to protect the core of the virtual world created within, which by its very nature is unconnected to the surrounding urban reality. The latter dual and divergent demand translates into an integration and continuity of the street on the ground floor level and a segregation achieved by elevating the rest of the program to the top floor, placing the theater and dance halls above the entrance halls on the lower floor. The ground floors, with large entrance halls, the store and the cafeteria, are transparent and visible from the street, thus incorporating their activity into the city and inviting participation.
Juan Navarro Baldeweg (Santander, 1939) is a Spanish architect, painter and sculptor. Navarro Baldeweg has provided a novel look at the constructive practices, in which the work is understood as the subject of an existing physical context activation. He has been guest lecturer at many international universities and is a professor in the Department of Architectural Design of ETSAM. He is author, among other works, of the National Museum of Altamira, the Canal Theatres in Madrid, the National Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos, the Salamanca Congress Centre, the Institute of Archeology and Architecture Awareness in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, or the extension to the School of Music at Princeton University.
Special thanks to the Canal Theatre and to Juan Navarro Baldeweg Architects.
Interview and translation by Studio Banana TV