The new Auditorium and Convention Centre in the Expo 2008 ground will portray a fractional and varied profile – ascending and descending – in dialogue with the different spaces housed in its interior and manifesting expressively the presence of natural light and the meeting point of the building with the ground. Like a white shining cover, a great roof gently envelopes the different structures sheltering a large interior space – fluid and continuous – which demonstrates the public and institutional character of its purpose.Three main blocks to house an auditorium, a multi-purpose pavilion and modular halls will be connected to each other via a large common vestibule which links the different areas. The convention hall was conceived with the intention of leaving upper tier and mezzanine independent of each other which will mean a hall for 1500 persons will also be compatible with conventions for smaller numbers. The exhibition pavilion will be used during Expo 2008 as the Water Platform since its location, with the possibility of independent access, will allow it to be used for exhibitions (one or two simultaneously), for seminars or diverse events. The modular halls comprise an area which can be used during the International Exhibition as a press centre, offices or meetings rooms if required, whereas later it can be subdivided into multiple halls or seminars of greater or lesser size. A large subterranean storey will house the service areas, installations, dressing rooms, storage areas, kitchens… which will guarantee operation as a centre with the necessary characteristics without interfering in the public spaces of the building.Geometry, structure and construction are part of this proposal for a single combined concept. The necessity for rapid execution does not present a problem for our project, rather it is the reason for the architectural concept itself. Strict geometric modulation, the preference for using prefabricated building structures which lend themselves to being repeated, the choice of astructural solution based on metallic girders with powerful lights and finally, voluntary restriction in the range of materials, are all arguments for a strategy which will allow us to dominate the structural, geometric and construction preconditions which impact on the process.The interior spaces of the Convention Centre will respond to the same gradation of textures and colour. Metal and concrete cladding in vestibules and public areas will coexist with continuous tiling and glass divisions. The main auditorium will also contribute to the drive for luminosity and clarity with its materials. To the exterior, large glass fronts will alternate glazed panels and metal lattices integrated in the façade with transparent sections for the elevation to the square which will enhance the perception of the open and public character of the building.The brilliance and clarity of the image of the building which will dominate during the day will have its counterpoint at night when the Convention Centre will appear as a landscape of solid light emerging from the ground: the metaphor of an intangible condition which – perhaps unconsciously – we imagined from the beginning for this building.
FUENSANTA NIETO (Madrid, 1957) and ENRIQUE SOBEJANO (Madrid, 1957) are graduated Architects of the ETSA Madrid and the GSAP Columbia University, New York. USA. They teach currently at the Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM) and at the Universität der Künste of Berlin (UdK), and are partners of the office Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos S.L.
Interview and translation by Studio Banana TV.
Interview realised with the sponsorship of ASCER.