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Arantza Álvarez
23 julio 2014

The new CaixaForum in Zaragoza by Carme Pinós, an sculptural yet dynamic building. And vast.

The renowned architecture studio Carme Pinós is behind the new cultural space CaixaForum in Zaragoza, Spain. The project was born in response to two specific challenges that the promoters set from the beginning. On one hand, to create a building capable of “making city” either due to its singularity or because of the public spaces it will generate; On the other hand, the second challenge was that the building will connect with remote perspectives when touring around, providing at the same time with certain introspection inside the exhibition rooms. In other words, a building that users will feel part of their town.



Both requirements were solved by elevating the exhibition rooms, thus liberating the ground floor in order to place there the spaces more open to the street and light like the lobby and the shop.


By doing so, a new public space has been created since the nearby park converges now with the city through this part of the ground floor. Also, this space is illuminated at night by patterns perforated on the exterior skin of the building, an element that serves as well as a screen hiding the structure that supports the raised rooms.


Under the elevated rooms there is a half-buried garden that serves not only as a gateway for the auditorium but also as an entrance hall and an open-air catering zone. This way the auditorium, located on the underground and accessible from the lobby, can be considered directly connected to the city thanks to this garden.


The two suspended exhibition rooms are facing in different levels, so the views of the city are almost complete. Amongst the exhibition rooms several rest and relaxation zones are scattered. Both spaces are connected through escalators, generating routes with unique, distant views.

FotografoRicardoSantonja_CaixaForumZaragoza_02_IMG_2613_CFZ0014 FotografoRicardoSantonja_CaixaForumZaragoza_17_IMG_3445_CFZ0081

The cafeteria and the restaurant crown the building, offering again great views to the city. Located on the opposite side and as a result of the disparity of levels between the spaces, there is a terrace with delightful views to the Ranillas meander and the Zaragoza Expo premises.


The building, as a result of an exceptional structure, becomes an impressive sculpture amidst the park.


The architects intended to make of this building a symbol of technical progress and of the generosity of culture, a memory of the best of our times.

Photography by: Ricardo Santonja, courtesy of Carme Pinós studio.

Read more about other CaixaForum buildings on diarioDESIGN

Technical sheet

CaixaForum Zaragoza
Former Portillo station
Av. José Anselmo Clavé, 4
Competition: 2008
Data construction: December 2010-March 2008
Building area: 7.062 sqm
Architect: Carme Pinós Desplat
Project manager-architect: Samuel Arriola
Collaborating architects: Elsa Martí, Alberto Feijoo, Teresa Lluna, Alejandro Cano, Holger Hennefarth
Infographics: Daniel Cano
Structures: BOMA Impasa SL. Robert Brufau, Clara Bretón
Technical fixtures and quantity surveyor: INDUS Ingeniería y Arquitectura
Fixtures: David Pedrerol
Executive manager: Joan Mas
Energy and sustainability: Belén García
Legal engineering: Albert Olivas
Acoustics: Higini Arau
Project manager: IDOM Ingeniería y consultoría
Builder: UTE FORUM ZARAGOZA (DragadosArascón)

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