In 2006, the architects Boris Bezan, Mara Partida and Héctor Mendoza, members of the architectural studio MX_SI based in Barcelona, were the winners of the open, anonymous and public ideas contest to design the Municipal Auditorium in Lucena. The project directs most of the spaces towards the river and is known for acknowledging and recovering the natural environment.
The construction of the building, using local industry, underwent adjustment in terms of dimensions, variety of uses, rational structure and construction system; it was delivered on time but came in at under half the anticipated budget without compromising the main spirit of the architecture.
The building that houses the Municipal Auditorium in Lucena recognizes the importance of the proximity to the river, the city’s exhibition centre and integration with the landscape as well as the extreme climatic conditions of the area.
The walk along the river provides a spatial sequence based on different gradients of open, semi-covered, covered and enclosed spaces. As a prelude, a large space or open forum is created for crowds to congregate at concerts and outdoor events. Access to the building is via a ramp with a porch overhang recreating a foyer terrace to enjoy the views of the river. This generates a cool, shaded microclimate that not only encourages the auditorium audinece to stay, it brings in people from the city as well. The terrace-foyer culminates in an enclosure or patio that leads into the closed spaces of the building.
The shape of the building is simple yet forceful; it identifies with and integrates into the landscape as just another pavilion incorporating itself into the urban planning of the exhibition grounds. The facility gives a new image to the access routes into the city. The building consists of two main architectural elements: a solid base and a light roof. The base acts as an extension of the topography which can be adjusted, if required, to integrate with the environment, promoting the continuity of public space and the landscape into the building. The light roof is detached from the base, allowing striking spans and openings to bring in the interior spaces.
The auditorium is designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate different types of programs. The large open space, or forum, located in the access area benefits from the façade of the auditorium, which can be opened and the stage projected to the exterior. The interior of the auditorium has been carefully designed in response to the acoustic requirements and with the incorporation of telescopic grandstands to obtain a multipurpose room with a flat floor for all kinds of events and entertainment needs. The functional versatility of the stage, with varying dimensions and equipment, enables different artistic disciplines to be hosted.
The structure is designed carefully to absorb the large gaps that a program of this magnitude demands, in an economic and reasoned manner. The construction of the building, enshrouded in the midst of an economic crisis, forced a rethink regarding the phases of construction, with a more efficient, lightweight and economical construction system, supporting the local industry. A special lightweight acoustic cover system mounted on trays was used to remove any secondary beams or structural reinforcement elements that would lead to increased cost and structural load. Moreover, the façade consisting of variable section aluminium trays, provides a quick and dynamic assembly to close the building, optimizing time and costs.
The construction of the building underwent adjustments in terms of dimensions, variety of uses, rational structure and construction system, hence managing to be delivered on time but coming in at half the anticipated budget without compromising the main spirit of its architecture.
Of the four floors to be equipped, two have been fully executed and equipped during the first stage; they house the main elements such as dressing rooms, the pit and storage area and an indoor and an outdoor dual stage. The second phase will see the completion of the first floor with a conference room, press room, gallery and boxes, and amphitheatre.