Francisco MANGADO

Elite Equestrian Center+


Zenotz. Ultzama Valley, Navarra-Spain

5.200 m2

The plot is in the middle of one of the most humid valleys of northern Navarre. A valley of gentle but sturdy hills, where the green pasture and oak trees configure a landscape of strong character, whose color changes with the seasons. A valley dotted with a system of small and relatively closely-woven urban cores, configured in an apparently random way. The buildings are formed of large unitary and isolated volumes that seem to touch, but that in truth compete with one another to show their bold architectural character. A boldness that draws on the climate conditions, but also on the production system – stockbreeding –, which in past times forced to accommodate in one same house people and animals. A boldness that is particularly evident in the roof, whose role is to bring together all the different contents. Boldness, in the end, of ‘Navarre’s buildings’. This is the context for an elite equestrian center specialized in dressage and with boarding stalls for horses: one of the strongest and most sophisticated forces created by nature.

The idea of clarity and also the strong architectural presence of the nearby buildings guided the project design from the very beginning. Beyond the materials or specific expressive configurations, the proposal was inspired by the desire to establish a relationship with the context through an exact, clear volume. This idea of clarity pervades not only the exterior, but also determines the structural and constructive organization of the buildings.

The mixture of scales, the way of playing with them and of making the interact, the need to combine different facilities for training or stalls with other more domestic spaces, comes to justify that main decision of gathering all uses, independently from their size, in those single and total volumes, coherent at the same time with the aforementioned idea of clarity and boldness. In this way, the houses for staff that work and train in the complex are no different and are also drawn up with the same farm-like volumetry, designed to contain the training tracks or stalls, which are integrated in these volumes, trying to avoid establishing a differentiation between them, as this would have entailed a fragmentation that is not compatible with the natural and architectural landscape of the valley.

Materials play an important role in the project. The usual tense plastered walls painted white of the nearby houses and cattle farms are replaced here with steel sheet, which, combined with oak wood (used in the window frames, interiors, vertical claddings and pavements), generates an expressive result. In general, the use of materials is inspired by the idea of offering a contemporary approach to the traditional solutions found in the surroundings. In the sense, the handling of large sections of oak wood coming from the controlled exploitation of the nearby forests – a handling that, as in the case of large pieces spanning some uneven areas of the terrain, consists in making simple volumetric cuts in the trunk – is essential in order to interpret the use of materials in the complex. 
The organization is relatively simple. A large elongated volume accommodates the stalls and the lodgings of keepers and workers. The roof is the same for the whole complex, but it slopes at a given point to reach the needed height for the secondary use and also marking the main access to the complex. A large volume lying perpendicular to the first houses the olympic training rings as well as the owners’ house and a living area and training premises for jockeys and instructors. In this way the living spaces afford direct views over the indoor and outdoor rings.

The landscaping project basically follows the guidelines of the valley’s plot divisions. Lines of oak tress divide the plots, configuring elongated prairies that more or less follow a perpendicular line towards the Ultzama River, where one can still find trout or otters, and which marks the boundaries of the estate. Now these prairies are filled with horses.

Calle San Pedro, 72, Robledales de Ultzama y Basaburua, 31797 Larraintzar, Navarra, España

VII Edition of the FASSA BARTOLO International Award for Sustainable Architecture
FASSA BARTOLO International Award for Sustainable Architecture. Promoted by the Facoltà di Architettura, Università degli Studi di Ferrara.Finalist Project: Elite Equestrian Center, Ultzama, Navarre.
COAVN (Basque-Navarrese) Awards 2010. Industrial Construction Category
COAVN Awards.Accesit: Elite Equestrian Center, Ultzama, Navarre.
FAD Awards 2009. Architecture and Interior Design Category
FAD Awards.Finalist Project: Elite Equestrian Center, Ultzama, Navarre.
X Spanish Architecture and Urban Planning Biennial
Spanish Architecture and Urban Planning Biennial.Finalist Projects: Spanish Pavilion for Expo Zaragoza 2008 and Elite Equestrian Center, Ultzama, Navarre.
La galerie d'architecture Exhibition Catalog
Future Arquitecturas #41-42
First european conference on sport facilities
Ayuntamiento de Valencia. Valencia (Spain)
Excelente 76. Iberia business class magazine
Ediciones Reunidas, S.A. Grupo Zeta. Madrid (Spain)
Diario Expansión, fuera de serie.
Francisco Mangado, Ultzama
Laberinto de Paixóns. A Coruña (Spain)
Blueprint #293
Mega Publishing Group. Manila (Philippines)
Arch Manual. Design + Concept + Script + Process
AADCU Publication. Beijing (China)
ISBN-10: 7560960405
Catalogue of VII International Prize for Sustainable Architecture
Facoltà di Architettura di Ferrara (Italy)
Catalogue of The 2010 COAVN Architecture Awards
Catalogue of the COAVN Architecture Awards
Colegio oficial de arquitectos Vasco-Navarros. Vitoria (Spain)
Tectónica #32: Metal claddings of facades and roofs
Ottagono, Design, Arquitecture, Idea
Arquitectura COAM #358: Madrid, Buenos Aires
Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid. (Spain)
Arquitectura Deportiva#10: Swimming Pool for Vigo University in Ourense Campus
ISBN-10: 9788489150850
On Diseño #305-306
Wallpaper #128
Wallpaper. London (UK)
Darco Magazine, Francisco Mangado Monograph Special Edition #16
Domus #28
X Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo
Ministerio de Vivienda. Madrid (Spain)
AV. Monografías #133
Swimming pools for the University of Vigo
The project is drawn up as large outlook onto the campus, and the whole organization and arrangement of uses are indebted to this idea. The users will be able to enjoy views of the campus and its buildings from this raised platform containing the swimming pools.The access to the pool through the most elevated area allows to accommodate the main functions in a single floor. The complementary ones – dressing rooms and sanitation services - are organized following an L-shape. All of them within an itinerary conceived in material terms as a slightly opaque one, defined by the smaller scale of the uses therein contained. Embraced by these are the poolside spaces, glazed and open onto the campus, “floating” beyond the structural and functional limits imposed. The ends of this platform, whose interior contains areas for resting after exercise, are cantilevering volumes (spanning approximately eight meters) that seem to escape the base anchored to the ground so that the users may feel as if they were flying.This light platform of water that hovers over its surroundings contrasts with its strong, solid granite base. This base endows the swimming pools with facades, aside from accommodating the systems and other necessary services. From the exterior, it is perceived not only as the facade of the building, but as a pre-existing base of topographical nature that is anchored to the subsoil, so defining the raised outlook character of the public level. The other central argument of the project is the roof. The large outlook has a clear, powerful and attractive roof, of large spans and an internal geometry in accordance with the existing deep beams. A roof that allows to generate rich spaces and light nuances – the roof has a skylight – that enhance the overall image of the complex. During the project design a special attention was paid to the water space that was to be generated, it had to be efficient but also appealing and sensual. In this sense the roof plays an essential role.
Soccer Stadium La Balastera
A football field has a fundamental and obvious function: to play football. But it also has two more functions that are not so evident but no less important. The first has to do with representation. A football field has become a work with certain iconic potential for the city. It can be a landmark, a building that is important not only for its quantitative characteristics, but also for its qualitative ones, a container for the dreams of the people. The second aspect stems from an obvious question: An area with the dimensions of a football field takes up a great expanse, which is used only on occasion. Doesn’t this result in a waste of space?This basis of this proposal rests on the belief that a football stadium is more of a building than an element of infrastructure. It is a building that can be taken advantage of to house other uses, but that above all, can and should recuperate a civil role. The project proposes perimeter offices and other public uses on the ground floor, all designed as a great urban “showcase” with direct and immediate access from the street. Internally the stadium is a large ‘surprise void’ where in addition to football games, a variety of public spectacles can be enjoyed. 
The towers, necessary to illuminate the field, have the most symbolic roles. Lit, like large minerals with sculptural qualities, these towers can be seen from several kilometers away, establishing a dialogue in the landscape with Palencia´s Cathedral. Committed to the concept of stadium as urban building, the stadium maintains a festive character.