It seems that an architectural relationship is quietly being forged between Poland and Spain. After the award-winning Szczecin Philharmonic Hall project (by Barcelona-based duo Barozzi Veiga) and the successful Chopin Airport redevelopment in Warsaw (by Estudio Lamela from Madrid), Tenerife-based architect Fernando Menis has just completed a new culture and congress centre in the northern city of Toruń.
CKK Jordanki is a striking composition of four irregular volumes, inspired by Tenerife's volcanic landscapes and merged into an old public city park. The complex is made out of white concrete imprinted with the natural grain of timber boards, matched by the streaks of glass corridors.
The standout element, though, is the red brick mosaic that makes a partial appearance in parts of the elevations, but is omnipresent in the complex's interiors. This is not ornamentation for ornamentation's sake; it is the architect's homage to Toruń's medieval architecture, itself responsible for the city's inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The new cultural centre houses two state-of-the-art, sculptural auditoriums that bring to mind three-dimensional cubist compositions. They seat 882 and 300 people, respectively, but can be adjusted to become a single larger space thanks to a common, retractable wall.
With their modern technical solutions (removable seats and ceiling elements, excellent acoustics and a flexible stage that can open towards the outside, as well as inside), they are suited not only to music concerts (both symphonic and popular), but also cinema, opera or theatre. Additionally, the spacious complex can now also play host to larger congresses and fairs.
The CKK Jordanki's doors were first opened in December; the centre became an instant success, gaining approval from both tourists and the city's inhabitants. With its eye-catching architecture, original use of materials and flexible programme, the cultural complex is sure to become Toruń's new urban landmark – adding to its renown as the hometown of Copernicus and its rich heritage of Gothic monuments.