romero soto architects: el centro de surf de somo, spain romero soto architects: el centro de surf de somo, spain
may 23, 2013

romero soto architects: el centro de surf de somo, spain

el centro de surf de somo‘ by romero soto architects creates a place for social interaction between the ribamontan coastline and the street

photo © javier azurmendi



romero soto architects has designed ‘el centro de surf de somo’ to transform an underutilized site at the end of the boardwalk into a surf center for the community.

it is located meters from the infamous shoreline of the ribamontan coastline, where surfing started in spain in the 1960s. here the surrounding shops are open seasonally.

the surf center fills a physical void between a large parking area to the south, and the beach to the north.  it also fills a social void by catering to local surfers and bathers

with surf board storage, lockers, changing rooms, and showers. an interior street allows access from the beach to these areas. 



‘el centro de surf’ fills a void amongst seasonal shops on the boardwalk in somo, spain photo © javier azurmendi




the inner street divides the central mass into two distinct buildings, each with their own specific functions. in response to the sloping site

their respective entrances are on different levels. both are indicated by open and inviting glass facades. romero soto architects uses materiality to 

highlight the public or private nature of each program. the lower building to the south is more public in nature with its tourist information area

and classrooms. therefore it is enclosed with a glass facade. opaque wood and concrete materials enclose and define more private program

such as the areas for surfers, and supporting administrative functions.




south facade and entrances of  viewed from the parking lot  the isolation of ‘el centro de surf’

photo © javier azurmendi




 the heavy concrete structure not only gives ‘el centro de surf’ a definitive visual presence, but it speaks to the sustainable nature of the building.

the thermal mass of the concrete contributes to passive heating and cooling, reducing mechanical loads. the smaller building has a green roof.

however, the most sustainable feature is the response to a community need. in a heavily touristic area, romero soto architects has created a place

of dynamic activity serving the needs of locals and tourists alike. 



from the east facade of ‘el centro de surf ‘one sees a terrace overlooking the inner street

photo © javier azurmendi



‘el centro de surf’ is located 20 meters from the beach at the infamous ribamontan shore where surfing began in spain in the 1960s.

photo © javier azurmendi



a terrace becomes a place for locals to relax

photo © javier azurmendi



the composition of terraces create a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate a wide range of uses

photo © javier azurmendi



glass facade reveals public program such as a classroom, reading area, and tourist information center

photo © javier azurmendi



locker room designed specifically for surfers

photo © javier azurmendi



 indoor surf board storage area

photo © javier azurmendi




project info:


project: building for surf center in somo, spainlocation: somo, ribamontan al mar, cantabria, spainarchitect: javier romero soto. architect with jacobo gomis herreraconstruction: arruti santander s.a. budget: 579,045 €fotography: javier azurmendi



  • Yo writer of this article. “Infamous” is not a synonym for “famous.” The terrorist bombings by ETA were infamous. The Stalinist purges in Russia were infamous. You might even say that confusing “infamous” with “famous” is infamous. But the “shoreline of the ribomontan coastline” is not infamous. At least, not until someone commits a horrendous crime there.

    Mac McDougal says:

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