It has always been special for us to work in the old part of Girona, el Barri Vell. This becomes obvious when we find the traces of a bunch of old constructions, when we glimpse the actionswhich helped to unify or divide spaces, when we see solutions to past blueprints and, in short, when we can appreciate our own culture’s development, our own identity.
There are a lot of guidelines in the spaces themselves. A cluster of volumes, construction methods, openings, architectonic elements… All these elements lead us to a process of analysis and reflection about all the approaches which have been developed before; how they modified or preserved the tectonic values of the place. The project starts with this analytic method but, before a specific proposal or result is made… the city! Then, let us explain the site, the square of l’Ajuntament de Girona, where some elephants are resting on their foot, creating one of the most imposing vault. This vault subtly touches the base of the strong and solid buildings above, amplifying the quality of the space. This composition enhances the activities which will be developed in the building. Arquia will be there!
Besides, there is an act of generosity that we, all the people who wander around the area, have the right to enjoy. Thank you! A private site which opens itself to let the people walk underneath. Oh my god! This circumstance happens only very few times, but when it does,it always leads to magic experiences. Something similar happens withLa Catedral de Girona staircase. Again, thank you!
Thus, it should be said that the understanding process of this site leads to a way which connects with the space created below the vaults. Josep Pla describes the space in this quotation: It was in this square where we felt, for the first time in our lives, the sensation that the elements with a strong character can produce. In chronological order, it was La Plaça del Vi which made us feel the desire to articulate something ambiguous and vague. La Plaça del Vi is a rectangular square, designed on divine proportions, with porches on both sides and the Ciutadans street on the background. In front of these porches we understood that we were right in front of the major work of our ancestors, that the roots of our tradition started in that curves, that Girona was the capital of our humanity. When we saw it, we were astonished and, instinctively, we went to touch the stone and we leant on the strong columns, lightly curved, that support it.
Thereby, the proposal reinforces this concept, elongating the space to reach the building interior. The strategy transforms the original concept, and gives special importance to the entrance, making the square become part of it.
When we are inside, the labyrinth it’s knit together with a double high space that, at the same time, elongates the outdoor space to reach the core where all the activity happens. In this way, the space design is solved using its own strengths. Stone, stone from Girona, millenary stone that gives an authentic atmosphere to the setting.
The inside space happens to be complex, full of small spaces with very different characteristics. We need to solve the proposal with the task we have been given: to connect, to unify. We need to design a new space where new relationships will happen, to create new ways to understand and appreciate the original values of the site.