adress/ gardeny military headquarters, lleida
surface area/ 2870 m2

competition/ april 2008

architects/ vora (pere buil and toni riba)
project team/ arnau boronat, eva cotman, alessandro cozzo
client/ pcital

images/ alessandro cozzo

the project consists of the refurbishment and extension of the old theatre in franco’s military headquarters into a centre of knowledge for the science and technology park of food and agriculture (pcital) in lleida.

the present building has a neo-rationalist style of great architectural interest in its volume and façade composition. it’s a building that forms the final point, the end of the plaza of arms, and has a certain monumentality.
however, the building is marked by the stigma of history, the military control of the franco dictatorship and the repression of the post-war period. because of this, a lot of lleida citizens have never been there, it’s not mentioned in tourist brochures and it’s not appreciated enough in illustrated books about the city.

the debate that generated this intervention for new uses of pcital is: what should we do with the history of the building (genius loci)? what should we do with the meaning of the building and what it represents to lleida? how do we turn the negative stigma that it has into something positive?

the building has a double meaning, first the architectural and heritage interest, and then the history and guilty conscience of the building and the place which surrounds it. both are important.

the intervention reflects on this duality and turns it, in a positive way, into a new identity for the building with the following criteria:

- volumetric integrity of the building. scrupulous rehabilitation of facades and discretion in the volumetric expansion that is necessary.

- superimposed layer on or treatment of the facade as a symbolic transformation, a tribute to history, that makes the observer reflect, which emphasizes the dialogue between the old and the new, making a critical reading of the memory of the building.

- distribution of the spaces related to the volume. a more natural occupation of the building, so that new uses merge with the building like it was made for them from the beginning.

centre of knowledge for the science and technology park of food and agriculture in lleida.