Francisco MANGADO

New Exhibition Hall Liège Expo+



23.664 m2

A trade fair venue such as the one that is the subject of this tender in Liège has an institutional dimension coupled with the fact that it is a public amenity. This means that an architectural challenge is also a great opportunity to transform the immediate urban vicinity and enhance the city as a beacon of architecture.

This contextual dimension and the quest for urban value have to coexist with the organisational and functional efficiency of the programme of a trade fair venue. These two factors are not in the least contradictory. The programme to be completed may be summarised in terms of the following aims: 1) The utmost clarity to deal with the attendance of vast numbers of people in very specific periods of time; 2) the demand for a swift and effective management of the exhibition spaces, minimising the assembly times and movements; 3) the adaptive capability of these exhibition spaces to the various demands typical of a trade fair venue, and 4) clarity with regard to movement through and access to the venue.

The access plaza not only gives the building a public character and increases its potential to regenerate the context, it also regulates access to the building in a clear manner in so far as it is a space that precedes the entrance. All visitors who arrive from the tram station or parking spaces situated at the southern end are funnelled by an ‘access gate’ to this plaza. Once they have passed through the ‘access’, visitors are surprised to encounter the space of the plaza. It is on the eastern side, opposite the plaza, where the large utilities area is located, ideal for the convenient transit of trucks and the parking spaces allocated to exhibitors, employees and users other than the general public. All of the car parks are enveloped as green spaces.

The floor space, once one crosses the concourse that is open to the access plaza, which can also be used as an exhibition space, is resolved by the central layout of all of the halls, joined together and in continuity, in such a way that they can easily and immediately be joined or separated. These halls with this layout are bounded on three sides: to the west, north and south, by pedestrian walkways so that the public can gain easy and immediate access and, more importantly, the halls can be joined together without having to rely on the layout of the access points.

A 1,000 m2 hall is an exception to this central and linked layout of the rest of the halls. It is situated at the southern end of the plaza and forms the entrance from the access route marked out by the tram stop.

Nevertheless, this positioning means that it can respond to certain exhibition uses that call for contact with the plaza, as well as other types of uses.

We propose a section of the building in which the roof structure possesses great architectonic expressiveness, while at the same time qualifying the internal space. This is a programme in which it is essential to have clear surface spaces that are not constrained by the building’s structure, and this means that the horizontal structure acquires importance in itself, becoming a special part of the project that helps us to shape attractive spaces.

Municipal Exhibition and Congress Center of Ávila
Ávila is a dense and intense city. Its layout, centered and delimited by the smoothly crafted city walls, confirms this perception. Actually, Ávila itself is a rock amid the harsh landscape surrounding it.Within such thickset contexts, any clear space takes on an added value much related to the concept of contrast or of boundary. In such cases a square serves as a means to free up interior space, and externally, to articulate the relationship with the city walls. The area outside the walls belies the origin of these voids that organize the space between the city inside, and the city outside. The presence of an open space at the foot of the walls, where the new Congress Center shall go up, allows thinking of new systems to structure the urban space.During the project design the guiding principles were conceptual density, generosity in the way of occupying space, and exploitation of the topographical features of the site. The landscape studded with granite pieces, both formally and spatially, provided the references needed.The Municipal Congress and Exhibition Center is aimed at becoming a meeting place to celebrate different kinds of events, a levelled area or plaza at the edge of the walls. The main level of this area is matched up with the highest point of the plot, so that its extension generates a large interior void that shall house, without excavation, the required uses.The building basically takes up the northern side of the new public space, delimiting along with the walls the new square. In keeping with the contours of the site, the project combines two different geometries: the most orthogonal and elongated space contains the auditoria and main halls, while the most precipitous and uneven one contains the exhibition spaces.Entry to the complex is clear and easy: the main auditoria are reached from the square and from the higher part of the seating area, which allows to get a quick grasp of the interior space; and the exhibition areas have an independent entrance from the incisions on the platform in the eastern boundary and, since all the different areas are connected under the square, they can also be reached from the interior of the building. From a formal and constructional point of view, the project draws inspiration from the evocative strength of the landscape, from the granitic mass that pervades everything.The volumes are meant to be seen from afar, high up from the walls like a sculpture carved out of the terrain. It is a juxtaposition of granite volumes, summed up in one piece, a more orthogonal one, cut and carved in a precise manner, and another more abrupt and topographical piece that covers the exhibition volume. For this reason the roofs shall be designed to smoothly extend the vertical surfaces. These folds generate the incisions through which natural light floods the interior, also allowing independent access to this area.
Municipal Auditorium of Teulada
Teulada-Moraira is one of those municipalities divided into two separate physical units. It could well have been called ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ Teulada, or ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ Moraira. The built area of Teulada is in the mountain, and that of Moraira is further down, following a valley of some five kilometers along the Mediterranean shores.The building of the new auditorium acts as a hinge between the two physical areas of the municipality. A reference that allows seeing and being seen from both spots. As far as hall types and complementary uses are concerned, the program is simple. The organization and layout of the pieces undergoes a total geometric and spatial transformation towards the southern facade that, being oriented to the sea, becomes the most singular and significant element of the project. Its depth gives it a sense of architectural section that urges to follow a three-dimensional interpretation (in terms of space), instead of a restricted two-dimensional scale. In metaphorical terms this facade evokes topography similar to a beach of stone that, from a distance, and with all its depth, appears to merge into the sea. In more practical terms, its deep and cracked geometry emerges from the study of the impact of the sun and the geometry it generates, especially during summer, so its final configuration aims to avoid the impact of sunrays in the interior. The base of this “facade” is a large exhibition hall that, as a sort of “cellar” that is softly lit by the rays that manage to make their way through the thick vertical concrete grille, fresh in summer and warm in winter, may provide the southern facade - based on more conceptual references - with a functional argument.The building shall be seen from a distance as a volume covered in tiles, like fish scales. Matte tiles that will be attached to the concrete walls. The shifts, setbacks and projections of the facade that is oriented towards the sea will be made of sandblasted marine aluminum sheet. Different spots of light, made of optic fiber, will be a value added to the volume seen from afar or from the water.