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Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro
Estudi D’arquitectura Toni Gironès

August 27, 2013 /

Artesa de Segre, Spain

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-01.JPG
Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Exterior view plaza level.  Photo: Aitor Estévez

By Pol Martin

Spanish architecture office Estudi d'arquitectura Toni Gironès has created an aesthetically raw public pavilion and exhibition space for an ancient so-called dolmen monument recently discovered by chance in the small rural town of Seró, close to Artesa de Segre in Catalonia. The result was one of two projects awarded with the 2013 FAD Prize.
    

Ancient Rural Ruins

The 4,800 years old structure was accidentally discovered in 2007 in connection with infrastructural work on the region's water distribution system.

The structure, which is composed of several relief-decorated flagstones, has been categorized as a megalithic dolmen monument - also known as a portal tomb - from the Neolithic Period (4,500 to 2000 BC); a single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone.

The beautiful monumental stones captured the interest of the government who decided to create a small pavilion for a public exhibition in the town in which they were found. The site chosen for the pavilion included two abandoned plantations and some derelict truck scales for weighing the trucks and their load of agricultural products. The pavilion is arranged as a sequence of multi-purpose spaces and a cultural building preserving the dolmen grave stones exhibition.
    

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-02.JPGTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Exterior view plaza level. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-03.JPGTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Corrugated steel ramp over the old plantations. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-04.JPGTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Corrugated steel ramp detail. Photo: Aitor Estévez
    

Topography

The level difference between the old plantations and the truck scales posed a challenge for the architects, but they efficiently solved it by simply adding a new roof to the top level as an extension of the existing urban space of the old plaza. From there, a soft and extremely light ramp running partly along the side of the building connects this plaza level to the lower level of the old plantation.

In terms of form, it certainly responds to the urban context and its physical conditions, establishing a good and productive relationship with the existent space. Maybe this is one of the reasons why Toni Gironès Estudi d'Arquitectura has insisted on keeping the name of the project as the "Transmission Space for the megalithic Dolmen of Seró".    
    

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-05.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Exterior view. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-06.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Exterior view. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-07.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Exterior view. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-08.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Exterior view. Photo: Antonio Cayuelas
    

The Flagstone Display

A very gentle spiral ramp leads to the old flagstones exhibited in the interior of the building. The exterior light shines through the perforated ceramic bricks of the walls and decreases during the ramp walk. In the center, andiolic lightducts focus on every stone so that the visitor can see their detailed surface. A second ramp leads the public out, so they won't cross in the narrow corridor. The setup also encourages people to remain silent in front of the old grave monument.    
       

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-14.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. The soft spiral ramp in. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-15.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. The flagstones exhibition. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-16.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. The flagstones exhibition. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-17.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. The soft spiral ramp out. Photo: Aitor Estévez 
    

Multipurpose Program

Besides its urban function and the display of the ancient monument, the project program also includes other facilities for the town of Seró including a wine shop and a multipurpose space. The wine shop sells locally produced wine straight from the wine cooperatives of the area, and doubles as a local wine bar. The multipurpose space works as a social center during the day as well as an introduction space for the monument. A small museum tells the story of the discovery of the dolmen monument and exhibits some of the items found in the old grave.
    

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-09.JPGTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. The wine room. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-10.JPGTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Multipurpose space materials detail. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-11.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Multipurpose space. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-12.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Multipurpose space. Photo: Aitor Estévez

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-13.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. The small museum. Photo: Aitor Estévez
    

Rudimentary Local Materials

The overall aesthetics of the pavilion are raw and apparently unfinished due to the use of very basic construction materials such as corrugated steel, bricks and other ceramic elements for the finishing of floors, walls and roofs. Corrugated steel bars - the kind normally used for reinforcing concrete - achieve a great technological performance for such a basic material, have been used for the ramps and handrails, resulting in an attractive, thin and transparent structural solution. This aesthetic responds to the rudimentary nature of the local agricultural constructions of the area.

Despite the popular tendency in Spain for raw and apparently economical details - a post-iconic architectural reaction now ironically dubbed by some as "folk architecture" - Toni Gironès' preference for economical solutions goes way back as one can see in his early projects like the Montgat Book Warehouse (1993-1994), the Minerva House (2005-2006) or recently the Salou Social Housing (2007-2009) that was awarded the AVS Housing Prize 2012.

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-25.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Local landscape inspiration. Photos: Toni Gironès

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-26.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Detail of the wine room walls. Layout courtesy of Toni Gironès

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Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Detail of the interior floors. Layout courtesy of Toni Gironès

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-28.jpgTransmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Detail of the exterior floor. Layout courtesy of Toni Gironès
    

FAD Prize 2013

For this project Toni Gironès Estudi d'Arquitectura was named one of two winners of the Prize FAD of Architecture 2013 edition. The jury states:

An apparently unfinished image and some simple materials that hide a rich reflection on the surroundings, the values of the rural heritage and the relation between a sumptuary past and an agricultural present. A skilful employment of the resources, that avoids the unnecessary, creates elaborated spaces - some strongly moving - and gives place to an equipment adjusted to the context.

Toni Gironès previous experience on archeological sites has resulted in other great projects like the Can Tacó Site, winner of the XII edition of the BEAU Award in 2013.

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Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Project sketch. Drawing courtesy of Toni Gironès

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-19.jpg

Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Project sketch. Drawing courtesy of Toni Gironès

Toni-Girones-Seró-Transmission-Space-Megalithic-Dolmen-20.jpg

Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Projects plans. Drawing courtesy of Toni Gironès

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Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Cross sections. Drawing courtesy of Toni Gironès

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Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Cross sections. Drawing courtesy of Toni Gironès

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Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Spiral ramp and exhibition sketch. Drawing courtesy of Toni Gironès

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Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro. Sequence of the spiral ramp. Drawing courtesy of Toni Gironès

Facts about Transmission Space for Megalithic Dolmen of Séro

Project Title:

Transmission Space for the megalithic dolmen of Seró

Location:

Carrer de les Escoles, Seró, Artesa de Segre, Lleida, Spain

Client:

Artesa de Segre City Hall

Year of design:

2007-2011

Completed (year):

November 2012

Project Team:

Dani Rebugent

Site Architect:

Brufau I Cusó S.L.P. (Technical architect)

Structural engineers: 

Boma Inpasa S.L.P., Estudi Xv S.C.P 

Ingenieros Instalaciones:

Oriol Vidal Ingenieria S.L.P.

Archeologists:

Pep Castells and Joan López

Plot Area:  

3,615m2

Building Area:

503m2

Budget:

348.952,44 €

Contractors:  

Orgèl·Lia S.L., Construcciones Germans Gilabert S.L.
Instal·Lacions Vilana S.L. and Fusteria Gilibet S.L.

Construction Manager:

Ignasi Gilabert

Photographer: 

Aitor Estévez, Antonio Cayuelas y Toni Gironès

Last updated: December 20, 2013

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