High drama: MX_SI reveals a bold new cultural centre in Granada

A close-up of the entrance of the Centro Federico Garcia Lorca and the alleyway running adjacent to the building.
The Federico García Lorca Centre in Granada is designed by Barcelona-based studio MX_SI.
(Image credit: Photography: Pedro Pegenaute)

The metaphor of a gateway to the arts is forcefully expressed in concrete in this new building for the Federico García Lorca Centre in Granada. The work of Barcelona-based studio MX_SI, the centre honours the life of the Spanish playwright and provides a focal point for community engagement with literature, theatre and the visual and musical arts. The mighty entrance makes an immediate focal point, drawing the eye in from across the city's Plaza de la Romanilla and concentrating visitors on a journey into an inner sanctum of the arts.

García Lorca was born and lived in Granada, his career cut short when he was assassinated by the Nationalists in the opening weeks of the Spanish Civil War. His reputation grew clandestinely under Franco and he is now revered, especially in the city of his birth. Any building honouring the poet and playwright's name needed to convey a tough, solid image to the world, as well as reflecting the way the arts open up one's perception of the city. The rich layers of in-situ concrete that make up the faceted exterior mirror the city's traditional use of stone.

Looking outwards towards the roof-to-ceiling windows with the historic tower in view.

There are moments of interaction with Granada's existing architecture throughout the building, such as these windows which enclose views of the historic city

(Image credit: Photography: Pedro Pegenaute)

The mighty angular facade setbacks point inward to the entrance, eventually leading into a corridor and public space. Changing roof levels don't interfere with a large, column-free area for accessible activities, enlivened by the interplay of light and shadow from the angular roofscape above.

The new building, which was won in competition, has taken a decade to realise. As well as gallery spaces, it houses a 400-seat flexible theatre, a generous library and the poet's archive, as well as a café and shop. The architects, Mara Partida, Mónica Juvera, Boris Bezan and Héctor Mendoza, formed their practice off the back of winning the project in 2005 and have since made cultural centres a specialty. 

The gateway-style entrance opens up onto the Plaza de la Romanilla 

The gateway-style entrance opens up onto the Plaza de la Romanilla.

(Image credit: Photography: Pedro Pegenaute)

Inside a cultural centre. An auditorium featuring 10 rows of chairs.

The building provides a cultural centre for literature, theatre and the visual and musical arts in Granada

(Image credit: Photography: Pedro Pegenaute)

Inside the building with white concrete walls and glass windows.

The building is constructed with layers of concrete in response to the traditional use of stone in the city

(Image credit: Photography: Pedro Pegenaute)

The exterior of the building with white concrete which falls in line with the adjacent three story building.

The architecture is open and welcoming, becoming a part of the public space of the square

(Image credit: Photography: Pedro Pegenaute)

In shot is the city's historic landmarks including a bell tower. Palm trees in the streets.

An angular entranceway frames the view of the square

(Image credit: Photography: Pedro Pegenaute)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the MX_SI Architectural Studio website (opens in new tab)

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.