Baeza Town Hall

Baeza Town Hall

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Baeza, Jaén, Spain | View Map
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Private Houses
Fernando Alda

Baeza Town Hall

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To face an historic unfinished building like the Baeza Town hall was a challenge. First step: how to understand the intervention. That´s why the Baeza Township Project has been read as a unit into a duration, as a constant change process where the new design has been thought as an additional stratum, as the last sediment layer in time the building has created, accepting architecture as temporal process.

Henri Bergson said that the ultimate reality is not the being, nor the changing being, but the continuous process of change which he called «durée» or duration.  We can also talk about the way of being of architecture in time, the «durée» of architecture; overlays and time accumulation, changes, dissolution, addition or mutation that befalls all architectural ensembles through time. Architecture is a way of inscribing time on matter, because human’s print in every manipulated object –material or speculative- sets us in a place in time. As we build, pile, glue or pour we change the geologic, industrial or poetic time of matter humanizing it, making it ours, giving it –as we impress our vital time in it - a human breath.

The refurbish of the Baeza Town hall is entwined within the concept of architectural «durée». It is designed thinking about the additive condition and the quality of change as the substance of the project.

Then; how do we understood the historic building?

The answer rose slowly. Finally, we thought of the building as a fragment –almost a stump-, Then the strategy was clear:  clean up the building’s additions, to accept the historic building as an unfinished fragment and to envelop it with new construction. Once isolated it is the town’s logic which generates, encloses and wraps the existing fragment; it is the spontaneous city growth, the organic structure of its patios what hugs it.

We made three parts.

  • The existing: the building or historic fragment containing the representative and political part
  • The new: offices, common and customer service areas
  • The void: the container of a new public space, lobby, waiting and sitting areas

The office building staircase is the main part of the enlargement. In concept it is a “baroque” staircase illuminated by skylights (north and south). The idea is to recreate the atmosphere of the great Spanish cathedrals mixing closings, lattices, golden coverings, added to the vibrations of the lights and the shadows.

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