The town of Algueña in Spain is known for its agriculture and marble industries and its music, with a band that has about 125 members. However, Algueña is home to just about 2,000 people, so when the town came to COR & Asociados looking for an auditorium and culture center, the architecture firm had to create something inspiring on a budget.
For the Casa de la Música y Auditorio, the firm paired an existing building, an old police station that was renovated in collaboration with local artists, with new construction. They built an auditorium whose footprint mirrors the existing structure, metaphorically and literally—the old is a traditional building and the new is a shimmering block of luster. The shimmer is due to iridescent ceramic tiles that clad the auditorium; they reflect the clouds that come and go and the ever-changing light. COR & Asociados wanted the cultural center to key in on the marble industry that is vital to Algueña. It’s reflected in the simple rectangular, block form of the auditorium and also its pearly, iridescent surface. Here, the firm came up against budget restrictions again and had to get creative. They decided to treat tile that was available on the market with an ancient technology that isn’t common these days and they essentially had to reinvent the process. In the third and final firing the porcelain tiles were treated with a mixture of metals and oil that resulted in the reflective, pearlescent finish that makes Casa de la Música y Auditorio so memorable.
Above image: Casa de la Música y Auditorio in Algueña by COR & Asociados. Photograph by David Frutos.
A description of the Casa de la Música y Auditorio project in Algueña, Spain by Cor and Associates. Video courtesy of the architects. In Spanish with English subtitles.