alvaro siza to construct the new gate of the alhambra
 
alvaro siza to construct the new gate of the alhambra
feb 21, 2014

alvaro siza to construct the new gate of the alhambra

álvaro siza to construct the new gate of the alhambra
image © álvaro siza vieira + juan domingo santos / 3D rendering – LT studios

 

 

 

álvaro siza’s design for the new entrance and visitor information center of the alhambra world heritage site is to be put on display at a public exhibition in berlin. collaborating with juan domingo santos, the ‘new gate’ project will reconfigure access to the historical spanish site – a complex, yet rational, integration of built and natural form. through superimposing a regular geometry over an undulating terrain, the scheme establishes a new building with an important sense of purpose and place.

 

capable of welcoming 8,000 daily guests, waiting lines are avoided through spatial sequencing and a topographical systematization of people’s movements. in order to emphasize the scale of the alhambra, a large part of the new entrance is positioned below ground. strategically placed lightwells create distinct areas of luminance and shade, a reoccurring theme throughout the project. a courtyard brings visitors back outside, directing them towards and auditorium before reaching a central square. this plaza channels water in a continuous cycle of repetition, lending subsequent volumes a sense of fluency. each intervention is carefully considered, responding naturally to the site’s historical context.

alvaro siza new gate of the alhambra designboom
alhambra atrium I ivy courtyard (northwest landscape view)
image © álvaro siza vieira + juan domingo santos / 3d rendering – LT studios

 

 

 

after first visiting the alhambra while still a child, siza was instantly charmed by the site, forming a close and lasting relationship with the monument. frequent visits informed many of his other works, with repeated architectural themes constant throughout his vast catalogue:

 

‘in a building I love light but I also like half-light and even darkness too. they are related, complementary things, and in a southern country this idea of depth and light variation is very important. I always think of structures like the alhambra, in granada, where the garden is flooded by sunlight. then you enter another area and step into a patio, with arcades sheltering it and providing shadow. as you cross into a loggia, where the light is less intense, you go into another room, with just a little half-light, and you move toward total serenity. architecture should never lose sight of these dimensions and must use them.’ álvaro siza, arch., 1990

alvaro siza new gate of the alhambra designboom
alhambra atrium I entrance square (southwest cypress path)
image © álvaro siza vieira + juan domingo santos / 3D rendering – LT studios

 

 

 

presented by aedes architecture forum berlin with the council of the alhambra & generalife, ‘visions of the the alhambra’ comprises a series of original sketches, models, drawings, photographs and interviews, documenting the historical and cultural context of the 1000 year old structure and highlighting the architect’s commitment and devotion to the project. the exhibition runs at aedes am pfefferberg in berlin between march 22 and may 8, 2014, before moving permanently to the heritage site in spring 2015.

alvaro siza new gate of the alhambra designboom
alhambra atrium I main platform access (southeast parking)
image © álvaro siza vieira + juan domingo santos / 3D rendering – LT studios

alvaro siza new gate of the alhambra designboom
the existing site
photo © antónio choupina

alvaro siza new gate of the alhambra designboom
portrait of álvaro siza vieira

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