CaixaForum Madrid implements a new concept in social and cultural centres, offering a comprehensive and innovative programme that enhances the integrating capacity of culture and its importance for people’s communication and well-being. Part of that being the combination of old and new form. The visibility of the Tate Modern(a power station turned into a museum) led the director of the Caixa Foundation, Luis Monreal, to commission Herzog & de Meuron for the renovation that emerges as a live space opening its doors to the public. The la Caixa Foundacion wanted the CaixaForum Madrid to be a living centre that opens its doors on the Paseo del Prado to place itself at the service of citizens. Within the la Caixa’s cultural initiatives, the CaixaForums provide permanent building venues where some of their cultural activities such as exhibitions of ancient, modern and contemporary art, music and poetry festivals, multimedia art, debates on contemporary issues, social seminars, educational and family-oriented workshops may be housed, as well as their ongoing and, typically, permanent exhibits.Knowledge is promoted and personal growth enhanced for citizens of all ages.
Though the building’s exterior performs sculpturally, the programmatic desire is to be an experiential system. Along with the cultural operation and importance to the program, the experience of the space is carried through in how it affects the senses. Each program perfoms differently, playing with materials, shapes, and lights. Pleated and welded steel continues from the lobby ceiling and wraps up through the entrance staircase that leads the people into the building through the pattern and reﬂection. The lobby walls are made of concrete, but the lights mimic the pattern of the staircase pulling one in and enlarging the space. The foyer and auditorium are covered by a deployé type expanded sheet metal mesh, creating an undulating, dynamic structure. Being underground, this opens the space and lifts the...
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