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Transformation of a Tobacco Factory into International Contemporary Art Center

Project | 2008 | San Sebastián| Culture, Education, Museum, Offices, Restoration | The design proposes the reuse of a tobacco factory built in the city of San Sebastian in 1913, by the river Urumea and the railroad tracks. It has produced annually over 200 million packs of cigarettes in the 60’s. The existing building has an imposing exterior volume with four well proportioned courtyards, while the interior of the building has been very compartmentalized and damaged.
The program envisages the transformation of the factory into an international center devoted to cinema, an activity which is closely associated with the city and to the rest of the contemporary visual «manufacture». Thus, the building wants to be a factory of the present time.
The project retains the volume, the façades and the courtyards of the old industrial structure, but it inverts its sense. The courtyards are transformed into closed rooms, of a suitable dimension for film projections, concerts or conferences. The floors are cleared from the old pathways and these are transformed into enormous corridors which serve as lobby, foyer, exhibition space, cafeteria and informal auditorium.
The interior scale of the building is completely modified and it becomes the most appropriate for the public and global purposes of the center.
To complete the program, a new fragment of the place, made of stone, glass and air, stands on the shoulders of the old building. With the magic gesture of the “harrijasotzailes”, the Basque hoisters of granite stones, that piece of territory will float over the old tobacco factory, the course of the Urumea and the bright haze of the Cantatric Sea.

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