selgascano: el B auditorium in cartagena
selgascano: el B auditorium in cartagena selgascano: el B auditorium in cartagena
mar 26, 2012

selgascano: el B auditorium in cartagena

‘el ‘B” by selgascano, cartagena, spain image © iwan baan all images courtesy of selgascano




recently completed, the auditorium and performing center ‘el ‘B” designed by madrid-based practice selgascano is placed along the docks of the harbor city of cartagena, spain. spanning the 1 kilometer long alfonso dock, a 20 meter void between the building and water serves as a promenade, maintaining the artificial waterfront of the port. the translucent exterior of the linear volume stretches 210 meters and projects the orthogonal edges found in the man-made environment.


as visitors enter the interior, a delicate and light space is presented, evoking a soft aquatic ambiance that is decidedly missing from outside the building’s walls. aluminum and plastic manufactured from a single extruded section are placed in diverse ways and tinted with pigments to appear as different elements. set parallel to the pier’s edge, the horizontality of the low-profile facade accentuates the structures length, with a roof terrace offering panoramic and unobstructed views to the sea.

linear facade faces harbor along dock image © iwan baan

translucent street elevation image © iwan baan

graphic facade image © iwan baan

corner of building image © iwan baan

roof terrace overlooking harbor image © iwan baan

atrium and lobby image © iwan baan

floating stairs become focal element image © iwan baan

juxtaposition of matierals image © iwan baan

ground level seating image © iwan baan

ground level seating and ramp image © iwan baan

ground level seating image © iwan baan

ground level seating image © iwan baan

surfaces of upper floors become a vivid orange once visitors reach each level image © iwan baan

(left) corridors leading to auditorium spaces (right) auditorium images © iwan baan

auditorium image © iwan baan

auditorium image © iwan baan

texture of auditorium’s walls image © iwan baan

vivid material palette continues into stepped seating image © iwan baan

corridors image © iwan baan

(left) employee area (right) additional flexible auditorium space images © iwan baan

flexible auditorium image © iwan baan

glowing at dusk image © iwan baan

at night image © iwan baan

linear volume parallels harbor image © iwan baan

aerial view of complex and harbor image © iwan baan

site plan

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level 1

roof plan













project info:

project name: el ‘b’ location: cartagena, spain site of the building: paseo de alfonso xii sn 30202 cartagena owner: cartagena council architecture firm name: selgascano head architects: josé selgas  (madrid 1965), lucía cano  (madrid 1965) architecture project team: lara resco, josé de villar, josé jaraiz, lorena del río, blas antón, miguel san millán, carlos chacón, julián fernandez,  beatriz quintana, jaehoon yook, jeongwoo choi, laura culiañez, bárbara bardín. interior design firm name: selgascano architectural assistant: antonio mármol, joaquín cárceles, rául jiménez. photographer: iwan baan structural engineer: FHECOR mechanical, electrical, plumbing (mep) engineer: JG acoustic engineer: arau acustica textil arquitectures: lastra y zorrilla general contractor: dragados general contractor: intersa plastic manufacturer: polimertecnic auditorium seating: figueras floors manufacturer: prialpas lighting manufacturers: idealux lighting manufacturers: talleres zamora wall manufacturers: ata aislamientos tecnicos agroalimentarios model: gilberto ruiz lopes date project completed: november 2011 design phase: 2002-2004 construction phase: 2006 – 2011 total square footage: 18.500 m2 site area: 5628 m2 number of floor levels: 2 budget: 34.5 euro millions brief: hall a 1420 seats, hall b 470 seats, 10 conference rooms 1000 seats,  exhibition zone 850m2, restaurant zone 560 m2, outdoor terraces 1400m2, foyer-distributor 1500m2, dressing rooms 120 seats, rehearsal room 120m2, hall a stage 500m2, hall b stage 200m2. project: 2004 construction: 2006-2011 budget: 34 million euros

  • Selgascano: always interesting. They keep on exploring the possibilities of plastic in architecture.
    Many exciting moments in this building (ramp view, auditorium,…). The exteriors are really interesting and, thank god, more neutral than inner space. Like the comtrasts of simple-shaped exterior and the liberty and playful ideas of the interior.

    As far as I know the work of this firm, I don´t really understand the indiscriminate use of yellow and orange. I think it works really well in small amounts, as a way to highlight certain spacial qualities. I totally disagree in the employee area and flexible auditorium. It literally hurts my eyes. I can’t imagine working in there. Doesn’t seem comfortable at all.

    But above all…Congratulations!!

    Fernando says:
  • I’m so tired to see how architects of these days has no imagination and sense of economy, no scaling ability during the design procedure. This project is like a first year architect student work, that wasn’t accepted because of the abusing of the useless built space… I’m astonished to read that they did the designs during 2 years, than 5 years of constructions for 34 million Euros to achieve that project! what a team of amateurs! I understand that Spain has financial problems now… the problem is that this is the case now in everywhere in Europe. what a waste!
    …not to mention that the urban planning is catastrophic: the cube is completely disproportional to its environment. Guys (architects, urban planners, politicians), if you continue like this, the planet will be in a very bad shape…

    paul.archidesign says:
  • @paul.archidesign:
    Wow dude, you are entitled to your opinion, as strong and bitter as it may be. This project gives to the people a lively and unique place for celebration, the color in the auditoriums and atrium clearly exudes imagination. Not sure what you are looking at but this building is a success even without an exterior like a spaceship.

    Jon B. says:
  • @paul.archidesign:

    I would love to see some of your projects…

    Lps says:
  • This construction would fail german building safety standards in lot of cases…

    JurgenM says:

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