On 27th March 2008, David Chipperfield Architects won an international design competition for the masterplan of a new art and technology quarter in Segovia, Spain. The quarter comprises a new congress centre, an art museum, a technology centre, a hotel, and business incubator office buildings. The masterplan totals over 120,000 square metres.
The old city of Segovia, surrounded by 8th century walls, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, spectacularly situated north of Madrid and containing a wealth of monuments. The city has been proposed for the 2016 European Capital of Culture.
One kilometre from the city centre with links to major road and high speed train networks, the new quarter is inspired by the old city’s walls, plaza, narrow irregular streets and Alcazar (castle), and reinvents a new low and dense plan. A sequence of three plazas at the heart of the project establishes a common public identity and spine for the development. New civic buildings are cornerstones of the plan, each including a continuous shaded arcade overlooking the public space. The interiors will be protected from the fierce Castilian sun by deep shaded screen facades. The masterplan endorses continuity in urban approach; learning from the old city, whilst embracing the inevitable progress and development which will be demonstrated by the architecture of the new buildings.
The Mayor of Segovia commended the scheme in particular for its contribution of new public space to the city. The jury remarked that the project “shows a singular sensibility being integrated into the environment and the surroundings”.
Other competitors included Dominique Perrault, Foreign Office, MVRDV and Carlos Ferrater.