Congress Center of the City of Plasencia. Competition 2nd Prize
In an urban edge of the city, with deeply sloping plots overlooking a protected natural landscape, the scheme demands addressing an ambitious program in a small space, consisting mainly of performance halls and exhibition areas.
The building takes up the minimum amount of area possible in the flatter and higher part of the plot, hence minimizing foundation laying, earth movement and plumbing costs (there is a 17-meter unevenness in the plot) while ensuring an easy access for visitors and materials. The idea of “urban balcony” reappraises the value of the protected landscape and serves as guideline for other constructions in this context, creating a public space and establishing a binding relationship (it somehow recalls a bastion atop the urban edge) with the nearby trade fair grounds.
The competition rules speak of a building capable of addressing any requirement and of creating an as attractive as possible series of services. The main interest lies in the challenge of creating a flexible space able to multiply the variety of uses and, therefore, the services offered. Obeying to these premises, the proposal develops the program vertically and, in outline, proposes
the following: permanent spaces (projection booths, installations and storage) that free up space and guarantee versatility; variable (exhibition-multipurpose) and technically equipotential spaces that by varying ceilings and floors are easily converted into auxiliary areas; halls that can be compartmentalized into different sizes; and a vertical lobby with collective spaces (cafeteria, cloakroom, etc.) that relates the different areas.
It is interesting to see how the established combinatorial law generates new spaces of different character. The guiding thread is the idea that a greater versatility favors a greater simultaneity of events, making it possible to rent the Congress Center and relate several events through the lobby.
In the closed parts of the building (halls) there are opaque concrete panels; in the semiopen ones (auxiliary halls and exhibition spaces) semiperforated panels; and in the open ones (cafeteria, lobby) perforated panels. All of this permits seeing from the exterior (and through the radiated light) the activities that are taking place inside at each time.
Palacio de Congresos de Plasencia. Avda. de Salamanca, Plasencia. Concurso: 2005. Promotor: Junta de Extremadura. Arquitecto: Ángel Verdasco. Colaboradores: Berta González; Jaime López. Superficie: 4.525 m2. Presupuesto: 13.222.266 euros.