- Architects: Rosana Caro Martínez
- Location: 41013 Seville, Sevilla, Spain
- Area: 1390.0 sqm
- Project Year: 2011
- Photographs: Javier Orive
- Project And Construction Management: Rosana Caro Martínez
- Direction Of Execution Of Work: Francisco Nieto
- Health And Safety Coordination: Francisco Nieto
- Contractor: Fersumar y Equipamiento, SL
- Structure: César Diaz Cano
- Installations: Nieves Plaza Serrano
- Technical Consultancy: INTEMAC
- Budget: 1.051.833, 66 € (taxes included)
From the architect. The commission involved the constructive restoration and functional rehabilitation of one of the five sport pavilions which were designed by OTAISA1 in 1956 as part of the original Universidad Laboral campus in Seville (nowadays, Universidad Pablo de Olavide).
In 2008 the whole campus was officially protected by the regional government as a landmarked complex representative of the XX century rational modern architecture in Andalusia. The pavilion object of this commission is part of this complex.
First, for the proper restoration of the pavilion, a constructive and structural analysis was carried out. Second, to allow its planned reuse as a teaching sports centre, a new building serving as changing rooms, toilets and showers for the athletes plus storage space, was projected.
On campus, all the protected buildings were made of reinforced concrete. All were exceptionally well laid-out in what regards the structural calculations and the showcase of the concrete’s plastic potential. Despite some execution errors (idiosyncratic of that famine time of post-war Spain), these buildings stand as proof of the deep knowledge that the architects had of the nature of this, by then, novel material.
The pavilion object of the commission (named “37”) was an abandoned bare bone reinforced concrete structure of ambitious scale, remarkable plastic beauty and conscientious construction work, characteristic of that challenging moment in Modern Movement’s architecture, when reinforced concrete appeared in Europe as a revolutionary material to free the architectural expressiveness. Calling “37” a building is clearly inaccurate. Rather it is a concrete awning in a region where textile awnings are so common.
Two rows, each formed by four imposing trapezoidal supports, and 26 metres apart, hold the weight of the ribbed awning. The thickness of the concrete sheet between ribs is only 11 centimetres. The ribs thin toward the overhang, displaying their minimum thickness at the edge. Thus, the roof gains a textile quality and reveals the extraordinary expertise and artistic sensitivity of the architects.
No serious structural flaw was found, but states of oxidation and corrosion were detected in almost all the reinforcements, indicating that a continuous carbonation process had spread out into the highly porous concrete. The usual repair works on the concrete were accomplished in order to prevent future damages. Special care of the concrete surfaces was taken to unveil the plastic qualities with which it was designed and constructed. In doing so, we avoided the disfigurement of the original texture and character by respecting and recovering thicknesses, sensory qualities and spirit.
The new small-scale building housing the changing rooms and facilities for the athletes remains deliberately aloof at an appropriate distance. Inside it, low embody energy materials, gentle for the naked body, were chosen, without edges, without polishing, without gloss. The space had to be as undivided as possible, well ventilated and easy to clean.
Hydrophilic materials were excluded; joints between different materials were kept to a minimum. In order to accelerate water evacuation, the interior flamed granite floor was set as if for the exterior. Internal wooden partitions do not reach the floor; they hang from the concrete slab ceiling, avoiding accumulation of filth and microbial biofilm.
Only granite is used for the exterior. Monstera deliciosa and Hedera helix are planted around the structure and in between the supports, in order for the vegetation to take care of shaping a subtle, soft and cool fence. Necessary details try to improve the experience of the place: an elm-tree, a water fountain and a built-in concrete bench along the shaded flank.