City Of Culture Of Galicia

by | 23. Jul 2012

Cultural | Feature

Photo courtesy Paisajes Españoles, s.a. Aerial view from southeast


Located on Monte Gaiás, a small hill overlooking Santiago de Compostela, the City of Culture is a new cultural center for the Province of Galicia in northwestern Spain.

The design evolves from the superposition of three sets of information. First, the street plan of the medieval center of Santiago is overlaid on a topographic map of the hillside site (which overlooks the city). Second, a modern Cartesian grid is laid over these medieval routes.


Image courtesy Eisenman Architects Volumetric analysis

Third, through computer modeling software, the topography of the hillside is allowed to distort the two flat geometries, thus generating a topological surface that repositions old and new in a simultaneous matrix never before seen.

The original center of Santiago conforms to a figure/ground urbanism in which buildings are figural, or solid, and the streets are residual, or void spaces. Through this mapping operation, our project emerges as a curving surface that is neither figure nor ground but both a figured ground and a figured figure that supercede the figure-ground urbanism of the old city. Santiago’s medieval past appears not as a form of representational nostalgia but as a new yet somehow familiar presence found in a new form.


Photo courtesy Eisenman Architects Competition model, 1999


The six buildings of the project are conceived as three pairs: the Museum of Galician History and the New Technologies center; the Music Theater and Central Services building; and the Galician Library and Periodicals Archive.


Photo courtesy Paisajes Españoles, s.a.  Aerial view of Biblically (left), Central Services building (center), and History Museum (right)


Photo courtesy Paisajes Españoles, s.a. Aerial view of Hemeroteca (left) and Biblioteca (right)

Visitor’s experiences of any given building will be affected by its relationship to its immediate partner. The caminos, or pedestrian streets, that wind between the buildings also open onto a public square, which is bordered by the six buildings and features landscape and water elements.


Photo courtesy Eisenman Architects South facade of Hemeroteca looking west

Surrounding the built area of the CCG is the Arboretum of Galicia: an area of gardens and native woodland, conceived as both a recreational and an educational facility.

Currently four buildings are under construction. The remaining two buildings are scheduled to begin later this year. The Hemeroteca, or periodicals library, is scheduled to be completed in the spring.


Photo courtesy Eisenman Architects Roof of Hemeroteca looking east



Photo courtesy Eisenman Architects South facade of Hemeroteca looking west



Photo courtesy Eisenman Architects Interior of Hemeroteca



Photo courtesy Eisenman Architects Interior of Hemeroteca




CITY Santiago de Compostela
SIZE 1,000,000 ft2