A difficult-to-solve competition brief. Difficult because of the complexity of the monument, subjected to numerous transformations in the course of time, but also because the program proposed for the Caixa Forum is clearly smaller, in floor area, than the monument’s current program, suggesting financial problems and causing uncertainty with regard to future maintenance.
We are faced, hence, with an architectural exercise that has to do with historic signification, but also with something more prosaic, such as a programmatic reflection that will lead to a full intervention, apart from the uses required. The answer to the problem involves searching for a proposal that makes the monument an asset, a commodity in itself, whether or not this materializes in spaces that are built to be maintained. Another fundamental question in the type of project concerning us here, and that reinforces what has been said, is the marriage of significations that comes about when a building of historic importance like the Atarazanas of Seville must house an institution like the Caixa Forum.
That is, the complex links the Caixa Forum’s social and cultural importance in our society—which in other cases finds expression in architecture of mediatic reach—to the fact that it must also serve to restore/recover the Atarazanas, this bringing back of the Atarazanas being what actually gives value and sense to the Caixa Forum. More than making any display of superposed architectures, the project—and it couldn’t be otherwise—delves into the meaning of this restoral/recovery. It tries to find architectural value in a specific way of understanding the monument, and this is what the following explanations try to express.