Alcoy Community Hall is Calatrava’s contribution to the urban renewal of the Plaza de España. Two major landmarks, the Santa Maria Church and the Town Hall, highlight the socio-spatial importance of this public square, leading the architect to a very modest gesture, that of placing the new building underground. Two transformable and rather sculptural roof structures were designed to signal the western and eastern entrance to the building, solving practical issues of lighting and accessibility. The transformation occurs through a hydraulic system that guides the articulated movement of folding elements. In the western entrance, a pentagonal shape of framed slats unfolds upwards to reveal the grand stairway. The eastern entrance structure follows the same folding principle applied on a different shape. Uneven stainless-steel beams, pivoted on a bent axis, fold to create a curved, shell-like form that covers the pedestrian entrance as well as a fountain. When the entrances are closed, their integration with the urban fabric is almost seamless. Moreover, the kinetic attribute of the entrances generates a memorable ambiance, a most inviting characteristic for an open public space.
1-3: Lefaivre, L., & Tzonis, A. (Eds.). Santiago Calatrava’s Creative Process Sketchbooks. Basel; Boston; Berlin: Birkhäuser, 360-365.
Lefaivre, L., & Tzonis, A. (Eds.). Santiago Calatrava’s Creative Process Sketchbooks.
Basel; Boston; Berlin: Birkhäuser. Oungrinis, K. (2006). Transformations: Paradigms for Designing Transformable Spaces.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard Design School.