Enaire Foundation is the winning entry for the renovation of the old Gamazo industrial warehouse in the port of Santander. The project provides new contemporary art galleries in this prominent location in the bay.

The main building was conceived in 1901 by Jesús Grinda y Forner but substantially remodelled in the 50s when the northern unit was added. Multiple alterations have occurred since then. Our intervention continues this logic, it weaves itself through the buildings, informed by their history and in turn transforming them to accommodate the exhibition requirements. The main gallery occupies the full principal unit and the rest of the functional needs (foyer, services, offices, storage and temporary gallery) are located in the annex construction that includes a new mezzanine to hold the demands.

The current proposal is materialised through a sequence of interventions expanding from the emphasis on specific historical elements, the re-reading of other components or the appearance of new parts that demonstrate the richness in the layered complexity of the building. The structural beams that characterise the space are carefully restored, the existing walls are re-interpreted through a cleaning and whitening exercise, and the new contemporary layer is kept to a minimum. One roof, two internal and three external openings define the scheme. The new translucent roof over the galleries provides a calm and introspective atmosphere. The internal openings connect the public areas of the foundation, and three identical perforations punctuate the façade. One marks the building entrance, the other two connect the galleries and the visitors to the harbour and distant view of Peña Cabarga.

The public realm follows a similar approach. It continues the trend of recent transformations in the city that have recolonised the voids left by the port industry, enlarging the maritime front. Escobedo stone defines the blank canvas, two flower beds host the collection’s outdoor sculptures, a canopy together with a green wall and the foundation signage define the entrance, and a long bench facing south invites citizens to enjoy the bay views.