Arquipélago Contemporary Arts Centre

The design of the Arquipélago Contemporary Arts Centre (acac) retains the industrial character of the original complex and makes the dialogue between the existing (former spirits | tobacco factory) and the new (culture factory | production of art, reservations, multipurpose hall, workshops, laboratories and artists’ studios) its theme. The design does not call attention to the differences between the old and new structures, but seeks to unite the various scales and ages of the complex’s parts by means of the manipulation of form and materiality – the existing elements are marked by bare volcanic stone masonry and the new buildings are marked by their abstract form without any reference or allusion to any architectural idiom, built in exposed concrete with local basalt as inert material, working the surfaces in terms of elevation and textures and complementing full/void relationship between the mass and the open courtyards.
Thus, the acac acquires its identity through the quiet variation between the pre-existing – restraint and minimal gestures in the strategic layout of the infrastructure channels, maximum e ectiveness in spatial and functional hierarchisation of the complex’s various spaces – and the new structures, which, as they require special conditions not compatible with the pre-existing structures, respond to the functionalities requested. Inserted in a calm, serene way, they clarify what is from a specific period and what has been added, without negatively affecting or devaluing the complex’s overall spaces and structures. Context and contiguity contribute to the object’s autonomy.