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2019 La nucía


WINNER OF THE Architizer Jury Award and the Architizer Popular Choice Award in the 2020 Best Institutional  INSTITUTIONAL GOVERMENTAL & CIVIC BUILDING category

No one will have failed to notice that the floor often folds in such a way that one part rises at a right angle from the ground plane, and then the next part is parallel to this plane, giving rise to a new perpendicular plane, a geometry that repeats itself in a spiral or in a broken line reaching up to highly variable heights…” such began Julio Cortazar‘s Instructions on how to climb a ladder. Our work proposed to reinterpret the roof of the Casa Malaparte by Adalberto Libera. The building is also located on a promontory but wrapped in a protective shell. We filled the void around it and, in the same way, framed the landscape at the end of the staircase, from which, as Cortazar said, “… one emerges easily with a slight strike of the heel that fixes it in place, where it will not move until the moment of descent ”.

La Nucía is a pre-coastal town, close to Benidorm (Alicante), that is continuously searching for reasons to keep its population from migrating. The project arose from the city council’s need to generate a dynamic, open and collaborative space with the idea of ​​both retaining and attracting talent, as well as providing continuous training. It was to be a business meeting point, capable of altering the nature of the industrial zone in which it is located thanks to its captivating effect. It was to spearhead the area’s projected future digital transformation.

We sought to architecturally underscore its rootedness, creating a faceted hexagonal rock, which, like the Malaparte house, sits on a promontory, looks towards the best of the regional landscape and appropriates it, like the nearby Mount Ponoch which presides over La Marina Alta Alicante.

We proposed an origami: the internal colour acts as a wake-up call to what is happening inside, just like a child’s Fortune-teller paper game.

The textured, exposed concrete walls fold in, toying with planes and with light inputs, causing the sun to highlight the sides of the façade and generate a play of shadows. This dynamic effect modifies the site’s appearance throughout the day, highlighting the large openings through which escapes the yellow colour. They recall the brightly coloured doorjamb outlines of the doors and windows in the stone walls of the well-preserved old town. Yellow notes, caught between silver and black: a tribute to Frank Miller comics.

The grand staircase, with its stadium steps, is the heart of the building. It is designed for product presentations or TED TALK addresses. It constitutes the centre’s socialising area, and it frames the sky, turning into an all-encompassing cascade of light. This grandstand hierarchises the interior spaces and becomes a cloister area, with the offices, workshops, classrooms and the administration office located around it. Behind it lie a large collaborative work room, open to the outside, together with small terraces designed for leisure.

All spaces are designed so that users can interact in different ways and thus appropriate varied workspaces. The immutability of the exterior volume is thus combined with the versatility of the interior spaces.

According to the geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, a place is the result of how individuals relate to a space. Our building was thought out as a point of interrelation between the users and the space, which is capable of empathising with them and visually supporting their ideals. The centre was designed for 40 users; the waiting list, however, is currently more than double. Weekly talks and courses are held, turning LAB-NUCÍA into a regional business nerve centre, demonstrating that people’s lives can be improved through architecture, when it empathises with its users.


Work spaces




Town Hall of La Nucía

Year of construction