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09 Nov 2011

Pearlescent extension transforms former Civil Guards Quarter into stunning music hall

This modest conversion and extension project in the dusty town of Algueña, Alicante, is the work of Cor & Asociados. The design studio was approached with the concept of creating a new community base for a village which has an extensive musical history and uses song as a social and educational tool.

Cor & Asociados explains: “Music bands are a great Valencian tradition because in almost every village and town exists at least one of these musical groups. These groups are not only cultural entities but also social, with a high degree of participation in the village that goes far beyond the music and concerns social integration, formation and group work.”

In a village with a population of only 2,000 there is little room to expand the budget of €776,885 therefore the architecture team was forced to get creative. A 1960s Civil Guards Quarter was tastefully adapted with the help of the local community in an effort to redefine the building’s usage in the minds of the people.

This rebranding exercise extends further than a rehashing of an aging (if architecturally stable) building. Cor & Asociados looked to rebrand the entire village by ‘building an opportunity’ through the realisation of a social hub, bringing together members of the community through a shared passion - music. Not only does this enhance the external image of the village as a whole but it enriches the lives of many individuals.

In addition to the revitalised Civil Guards Quarter, the architects added an iridescent extension hall encrusted with fired ceramic tiles which shift in tone as the sky above throughout the day and seasons. The architects explain: “The new hall is a blind box, a strange element because of its shape and dimensions. To emphasise this sensation we propose a cladding that vibrates and shines with a pearly-iridescent material.”

In total the building encompasses 750 sq m, 350 sq m of which is taken up by the shimmering new auditorium which holds 230 flexible seats. There are also plans for a park with open-air auditorium in a back courtyard. An existing central courtyard overlooks the join between old and new volumes, separated by glass boxes which encase modern staircases lit from above.

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