The Folded Auditorium develops in a single volume, optimising the plot and integrating the surrounding urban park. The structure unfolds in four interconnected levels, enveloped by its characteristic skin of wavy surfaces.
Xiao Pu Liu
James Tendayi Matsuku
Building area: 31200 sqm
Location: Alhama de Murcia, Spain
Client: Alhama de Murcia city council
This auditorium and theatre arise in Alhama de Murcia, a town of south-western Spain. The project stems from the need to carve a public facility in an area surrounded by a large urban park. The structure extends to the southern border of the square and opens northward, realising a public plaza conveniently connected with the street and the gardens. The building’s exteriors reflect its internal distribution, where public and private spaces are effectively defined.
The stage of the auditorium is placed at the rear of this plot. The scope is to avoid excessive intrusion of the machinery in the square and to provide a wide loading area at the back. The building displays its public profile facing the square, whereas the access to the auditorium, on the first floor, becomes a wide viewpoint functioning as a foyer.
The subsequent circulation and height variation become the means determining the auditorium’s profile, as it is wrapped up in its wavy surface. Such formal language reveals how the building’s look alludes to its real function.
The special relationship with the environment is particularly evident at the entrance level. Here an open, transparent space extends beyond the structure’s borders, invading the nearest contexts and turning the delicate slope into an element of the landscape. The main entrance presents a curved wall protruding toward the street in a welcoming gesture, while the square’s pavement and green areas are arranged in a radial pattern.
The horizontal layout always maintains a distinction between the public area located in the North side, and the private one in the South side. The structure’s four levels (basement, ground floor, foyer and stage machinery) are linked together by the wavy surfaces that wrap up the building and function as circulation ramps within.