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Casa Mediterraneo Headquarters

Alicante, Spain
1 of 18David Frutos

Casa Mediterraneo is a diplomatic institution committed to foster the Mediterranean Villages’ common identity. Its new Headquarters are to be set within the old Benalua railway station, in Alicante, for the institution demanded new spaces where to develop a wide range of events, including exhibitions, concerts, shows or parties. Casa Mediterráneo is an institution born to cater for public diplomacy. Its main aim is to foster the common identity of the Mediterranean cultures.

Its new headquarters are to be established in the old Benalúa railway station. The new institution needs spaces in order to host events, exhibitions, concerts, projections and all kinds of parties. The most valuable element of the old building is the awesome space above the railway tracks: a 20 m span covered by slender iron work almost impossible to achieve nowadays. The project focuses on the sophistication of that simple, linear space for trains and thus on turning it into an experience space for people.

The most experimental uses or activities are to be developed in and between two volumes that are lightweight, translucent and faced. These volumes enclose and help to centralize that main space of multiple properties allowing for simultaneity of different events. The space works the colour white in its brand new volumes and also in its walls and pavements. The colour white is used in a phenomenological and sensual way. White is a colour which can easily be excited and tinted. It is the colour of the cinema screens.

The conventional programme is fitted into an array of small pavilions scattered along the perimetral aisles. These are equipped and climatized, and enable any eventual worker or onlooker to enjoy and understand the original structure and space. The rest of the building is not climatized. Though sheltered, the spaces are not closed, allowing a constant flow of fresh air inside. The floors are cast of compact sand, and the gardening is distributed in glossy ceramic pots. The result is a new occupation and transformation protocol for Heritage buildings. A new scenario in which the old buildings and the citizens empathize, feeding the flame of memory while avoiding any nostalgic concession.