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Prize Winner DETAIL Readers' Prize: Impluvium, Community Centre

In June 2012 the old market hall in Reinosa, a small town in northern Spain, was destroyed by fire down to the foundations. Since the last renovation in 1986 this late 19th century building had been mostly empty. All that was left there was a laundry, while some local associations used the hall for their events.

The fire gave the municipal administration the opportunity to erect, on the centrally located square, a building more suitable for this function. The young Madrid office RAW/deAbajoGarcia won the architecture competition for a new community centre. "Impluvium", the code word that the architects used for their winning entry, is the name given to the central water basin in Roman atrium houses. The reference to the model from classical antiquity is unmistakable: inward sloping mono-pitch roofs carried on just a few powerful columns surround a courtyard that is the central reference point of the complex. Flea markets and celebrations can be held in the building as well as concerts and exhibitions. On the ground floor there is a cafeteria, while on mezzanine board games are played and group workshops are held.

In the interior, too, the powerful timber structure dominates the spatial impression. Like the exposed concrete walls, the polished concrete floors and the ventilation ducts below the ceiling, it is left unclad. The mezzanine level is partly hung from the glulam beams by black painted tension rods.

The architects devoted particular attention to the transition from the interior to the sunken courtyard. The knee-high change in level is partly in the courtyard and partly inside the building, creating heated and unheated, sunny and shaded seating areas of different character along the four sides of the building.
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Cost planning: Jesús Gangas Cuesta


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