Francisco MANGADO

New Art Centre of Neanderthal in Piloña+


Piloña, Asturias-Spain

Time is the most important material in archaeology and architecture; in archaeology because it is precisely time that gives significance to the unearthed piece or remains, and in architecture because only time can make a final judgment on its goodness or badness.

It is impossible to define time architecturally, yet there are architectures that come closer to doing so than others do. I believe architecture comes closer to defining time when it connects with the natural environment and when its ‘tectonicity’ inspires both surprise and permanence.

This project tries to build on such ideas. Nature, at once changing and permanent, and the land of Asturias, with its reliefs and contours, themselves define the framework for the archaeological site of Sidrón; this is the framework in which ancestors, now brought to light, made today’s dig exist. On the other hand, the idea of a ‘cave’ gave rise to the formulation of a bold, clear-cut architecture where the element of surprise and the role of form-generating building elements are key. Both ideas in turn refer to the environment on one hand, and to the interior configuration of the project on the other. And they fuse in a project where the main space, for the exhibits, is conceived as a series of built ‘caves’ that cause surprise on the inside while connecting us, on the outside, through the sectioning of the spaces and through their external outlines, to the mountains and green hills of Asturias. In geometric terms, the entire project has this sense of atavism and timelessness, loaded as it is with references to archaeological shapes ingrained in our retinas after seeing pieces and minerals that were instrumental to our ancestors for so long.

Asturias, España