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Cornell Martínez Arquitectos, Valencia

Movable backdrops: Event hall in Valencia

Over the past few years, railways tracks have been dismantled and old railway buildings demolished in the area around Valencia’s main railway station, gaining public space for the city’s new central park. An old warehouse from 1917 has remained in place however, with Contell Martínez converting it over the recent past into an event venue.

Entering the building from the east leads to a low entrance area set apart from the rest of the hall by a partition wall formed out of reclaimed railway tracks and reinforcement steel. The architects have also placed a fully-glazed meeting space with a translucent membrane ceiling on the mezzanine above the entrance area.

The new interior adheres to the hall’s approximate zoning into the bays defined by the five filigree roof trusses. While the reception counter as well as lockers and an elevator and staircase leading up to the newly-created mezzanine take up the first bay, the second one contains a closed area of toilets, side rooms and an office, and leads over to the actual event hall. Retractable tiered seating and steel wall cabinets positioned against the long walls lend the space a multifunctional character. The solid-looking closets are mounted on rollers and can be folded out or pivoted in a variety of ways to adapt them for use as lockers, reception counters, room dividers, storage areas or dressing rooms. Their perforated metal fronts have a damping effect for the room acoustics. The metal originated from another warehouse in the locality, whereby the cabinets have been sized to the dimensions of the recovered material to avoid as many offcuts as possible.

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