The Bajo Martin County is formed by nine historic populations in Teruel, located in the basin of the River Martin. Alabaster, which is extracted from quarries in the area, is one of its main resources, dedicated to both the export and cultural promotion, through routes, meeting craft and art activities, such as the Symposium Sculpture, organized annually by the Center for Integrated Development of Alabaster.
The site is located on the outskirts of Hijar, capital of the county, along the national highway N-232 and the old abandoned silo. It was a dysfunctional urban environment, including existing industrial buildings, and the front of residential townhouses, just across the road.
In this context, the building emerges from the solar forming a unitary, clear and compact solution for an urban environment devoid of qualities, which legitimizes the autonomy of the piece. The connection of the building with the site, which requires institutional status does not occur so from urban relations, but references to geographical landscape, history and culture.
In this sense, alabaster and limestone that make up the twinned volumes of the building, carved in different prisms, characterized its formal expression and constitute an essential part of the argument of the project, evoking the volumetric decompositions overlap and rock pools that occur in alabaster quarries in the area.
The outer volume, solid and massive, is poured inside. The beginning of the project is in the geometric and material definition of its volume, and then intervene “digging” inside an empty dynamic system, connected visually and spatially, diagonal, linking the three floors and articulating the circulation spaces, access and meeting. This concatenation of spaces structure its inner emptiness, but retains its unitary condition.
Location: N-232. Híjar (Teruel).
Architects: Magén Arquitectos
Developer: Bajo Martin County
Collaborators: Beatriz Olona (architect); José Luis Sánchez Velázquez (quantity surveyor); Rafael González (engineer); José Sainz (structure)
Construction: Conavinsa SA. Grupo Praínsa
Photographs: Pedro Pegenaute
Area: 1.286,10 m2
Budget: 1.999.759,54 €
“XXVII Architectural Exhibition. Fernando García Mercadal Prize”. Institute of Architects of Aragon. June 2012.