Musikene among the nominated works for the 2017 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award.
A solid dark volume that when it is carved, a bright and luminous interior is discovered. The building projects along the city of San Sebastian, the artistic activity developed inside, music.
Musikene, Higher School of Music of the Basque Country, considered a reference as a learning centre in European scale.
This sculpted building responses to dense and compartmentalised needs programme in a constrained plot.
This situation makes the building use the maximum volume allowed by the regulations and enlarge the surface of the façades as much as possible in order to light each and every space.
The volume veils a precious piece inside, the auditorium, which becomes the heart of the building.
In addition the building houses 75 different size acoustic classrooms, 32 individual practice cabins, library, music archives, administration and teacher areas along with many other facilities.
Even though the building can appear to be an arbitrary sculpture, the project is the result of meticulously adapting the needs to the geometry and demands of the plot. Leading to a design, which seeks to be representative of the artistic activities that take place inside.
The building arises as an inner self-sufficient element, nevertheless answers back to its surroundings giving a response to the urban structure and nearby buildings.
The buildings formal designs comes from the need of enlarging the façades surface in order to illuminate the different spaces. Three impressive incisions sculpt the solid volume through some clear and straight cuts, projecting the soul and the brightness of the building towards the city.
The contrast between the different façades has been strengthen by the use of high brightness black colour in the covering part and gold colour for the cuts.
The materials evoke with a subtle language the finishing of the musical instruments.
This is a building with a simple and clear concept but with a tough and sophisticated technical development.
The foundation reaches 25 meters of depth with the phreatic surface at -2.5 meters. The buildings structure consists of a steel skeleton witch supports the complex geometry conditioned by the big open space for the auditorium at the main floor.
The most important issue to take into account is the acoustic needs that affect all the spaces of the building, needs that ensure the success of the functionality of the building.
Technically the need to highlight the contrast of the façades has been solved by covering the skin of the building with smooth black lacquered aluminium, which stresses the window holes. Nevertheless, to provide the courtyards with an abstract character, perforated galvanized golden trays have been used, this allows light to go through and as they are stamped, sunrays are reflected too.
The combination of just glass and steel and the strict modulation of the buildings skin contributes to make control of the economic cost.
The building is designed following sustainability criteria, based on energy saving and the optimization of the installations.
Name of work in English
Musikene, Music Centre of the Basque Country
2015 (Year began 2012)
Asier Atxurra de Blas (1970 Spain); Unai Zelaieta Garate (1971 Spain); Aitor Gurtubay Gálligo (1972 Spain)
Technical architect: Virginia Canales Osinaga Structural engineering: Ramón Roman Alonso Acoustical: Alfredo Knörr de Las Heras Consulting: César Sesma Security: Iñaki Almodovar
Usable floor area
Basque Country Education Department