The prestige of Santiago Calatrava it throws an architectural pulse to the city of Oviedo with a futuristic, spectacular building, surprising as a model of Blade Runner that becomes real, and disturbing as a Mazinger who spreads his fists over a classic city.
But this is not the meaning sought by a project that in the medium and long term aspires to adapt an entire neighborhood in a diaphanous area, of great pedestrian amplitudes, surrounded by trees and sheets of crystal clear water.
In its final conception "the arms" of Calatrava will offer their true meaning of welcome, meeting and union with citizens around an imposing Palace for the new times.
The Valencian architect, who received the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 1999, believes that his new work will update the beautiful Asturian city "echoing an era and a beginning of the century."
Oviedo finds in this space a new reference. A graceful structure despite the thousands of tons of material used, which distills atmospheric lightness and infinite perspectives and symmetries when it is carefully observed and perimetrally traversed.
Inside, the visual translations are similar, abundant in views and contraviews, loaded with profiles and with an unusual softness between the great blocks of the immense layman. The Palace allows different panoramic views of the interior thanks to the stepped heights.
Out is a gigantic viewpoint of the city, offering innovative balconies to the Oviedo skyline. In all cases, it conveys the feeling of being a great work of engineering, a work that has been taken to the technical extreme and that allows the self-modulation of its forms, as a living organism that seeks vital accommodation according to external conditions.
What is in the Congress Palace of Oviedo?
A new reference we said; new for modern but also for unprecedented in the Asturian capital. Oviedo enters the vanguard of urban architecture with this space designed to house four different uses in a single set:
1 / The Buenavista shopping center with 40.000 square meters of surface.
2 / The congress hall Princess Letizia, is framed in the main construction and is distributed on two floors that house a smaller room, conference rooms and multipurpose uses and a larger room, of 4.510 square meters, with a capacity for 2.500 people. This installation is shaped like an ovoid and is arranged on a semi-enclosed square. As it has been conceived by Santiago Calatrava, it gives the impression of «being floating in the water». This central part of the work has a mobile cover, a giant visor composed of several tens of large elements, "nerves" or "ribs" of white steel (the characteristic color of the Valencian architect), some fixed and other mobile that can be tilted thanks to a hydraulic system, allowing a greater entry of light and a modification of the exterior appearance of the Palace.
3 / A five-star hotel, of 15.800 square meters, located in the southern part of the plot and consisting of three floors and 150 rooms.
4 / An area of administrative services of the Principality, that welcomes the headquarters of the Ministries in its east and west wings and that occupies a surface of 11.000 square meters
The magnitude of the construction also gives space to an underground area intended for parking with 2.100 squares and a lobby that exceeds the 2500 square meters.
The U-shaped building that tops the structure and surrounds the Palace rises some 30 meters from the ground through a complex of steel porticos.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com