The project “Between Cathedrals” seeks to create an intervention worthy of the most significant location in the history of Cadiz, the oldest city of the West: the empty space facing the sea located between the Old and New Cathedrals.
The basic premise is to cover and protect an archeological excavation. Additionally, this new plane serves as a base for a space facing the ocean, a raised public space providing clear views unobstructed by cars passing on the circle road.
A light, white platform is thus conceived, poised over the excavation as if on tiptoe, and reached by a side ramp. Over this plane, a huge canopy structure is built to provide protection from the sun and rain.
Constructed as if it were a ship, it is painted completely white to accentuate its lightness. The paved area is carpeted in white marble.
In the construction of the base; the memory of ships. In that of the shade structure, as if it were a baldachin; the memory of a holy week procession.
We would like to make a beautiful piece of architecture, worthy of this wonderful place, and worthy of being part of the collective memory of Cadiz.
Text by Alberto Campo Baeza.
Interview via E-mail by Justin Allen. April 7, 2010
The good of this project lies in the simplicity and beauty of space that was created for public use. The project demonstrates that well conceived and creative thinking can lead to very useful and enjoyable space with the correct scale and level of resources. Alberto has a poetic understanding of architecture which is naturally expressed and takes a welcoming and comforting form in the project. The project evokes a sense of imagination and possibility by creating a new view point. Alberto gives us a perspective to look forward while being cognitive of the past. His use and justification of materials show prudence and respect for the memory of the local culture and city while also being open to possibilities and dreams. Text by Justin Allen
How does this project express your architectural style:
This project expresses a clear voluntary, with my architecture, to construct more with less. That is not minimalism, rather something similar to that what poetry does with literature. Poetry is not literary minimalism. My Architecture is not either. I try to make my Architecture be poetry.
How would you critique this project:
It tries to establish a horizontal plane to the precise height in order to put en relation to of historic Architecture of the two cathedrals with the nature that is in front of them, which is the sea. Open the city to the sea.
What knowledge have you gained from this project:
To demonstrate the capacity (ability) of architecture that efficiently acts in the historic city. To continue the construction of the city.
What impact did the final selected building materials have on the completed project:
LIKE A SHIP
I believe that the materials are appropriate. The first material is the piedra ostionera (local rock) that covers the wall in the background. To be the same rock that the cathedrals were constructed with, it unites them perfectly.
The light metal structure painted white, with the same materials that is used for constructing boats.
The white pavement stones of marble are by Macael, which gives value to the traditional material of Andalucía. I believe we made it with the right materials.
How did thinking about the human experience effect the design of Between Cathedrals:
Now it is always full of people sitting, or walking, calm and they seem very pleased.
What makes good public space:
When people are going to use it and it is pleasurable and dreamy. I believe that Entre Catedras people are very pleased. And that looking at the sea, they can dream. I say that from here, “winking your eyes” one can see America.
How does this project reflect the culture of your studio and that of Cadiz and Spain in general:
It reflects very well what is possible with the memory of the story (Mnemosina) and without the need to copy (Mimesis) that is possible to erect modern architecture that continues the construction of the city.
Please feel free to share any additional comments:
MEMORY AND IMAGINATION
“All space is really habited containing the essence of the concept of home, because here it unites the Memory and the Imagination, which intensifies itself mutually. In the values of the land they form a community of Memory and Image, in such a way that house not only is not only experimented daily while threading a narration or telling our own story, but through dreams, places that we inhabit, impregnate and conserve the treasures of the past. Therefore, the house represents one of the principal forms of integration of thoughts, dreams and memory of humanity. Without this, man would be dispersed.”
These accurate words by Gaston Bachelard in this essential text for those architects “La Poetica De Espacio” (The Poet of Space), speaks clearly, concentrating on the house, about the need for memory and the unity with Imagination in order to mutually intensify each other.
Memory and Imagination is what I utilized en Entre Catedrales in Cádiz.