La Lnea de la Concepcin. Cdiz

Youth Center

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Project Description


La Línea de la Concepción is located in the south of the province of Cadiz, just by Algeciras Bay, facing the Strait of Gibraltar. The town lies on a narrow isthmus that links the Rock of Gibraltar with the Iberian Peninsula, between the Mediterranean Sea to the East and the Algeciras Bay to the West. La Linea is a relatively young city, founded in 1870 on the basis of the border settlements beside Gibraltar. It underwent a strong growing during the last decades of the 20th century.


The area where the new House of the Youth was to be built is crowded with tall residential blocks. The site for this project was somehow an exception to this dense environment, for it appeared as a fenced garden with some small buildings on it. To preserve this character, the new structures were conceived as a series of scattered pavilions surrounded by vegetation, partly original and partly new.


The main pre-existing building was the former House of the Youth. Lying near the corner of the plot, it was to be demolished because of its very bad structural condition. Adjacent to the eastern limit, another small linear building contained a house for the keeper, locker rooms and storage. This building was preserved. The rest of the site included gardens and sport courts


The program required a series of spaces for youth activities including: an exhibition space, two workshops, a small library, a playroom, some offices for associations, a multipurpose hall and an information desk.


The project attempted not only to build the new local “House of the Youth” but also to renew the damaged image of this privileged space in the town.  The general concept was to house the program in a series of detached pavilions along a north-south axis, linked by a path the runs along the eastern area of the site: a collection of pavilions inside a fenced garden that was restored and its fence rebuild.


The first two pavilions, near the main entrance at the corner of the plot, are white and low. They are displayed as a sort of welcome building. One of them provides space for the information desk, the offices (for youth associations) and the restrooms. The other one houses the library and the multipurpose hall. A glazed corridor links both pavilions, and frames a nice view to the pre-existing palm trees and to the rest of the garden at the bottom. The palm trees and the two pavilions enclose a courtyard to which the multipurpose room and the offices open by means of ample wooden louvers. The north façade of both structures is completely glazed showing their activity to the public external space.


A long pergola starts by the entrance, goes along beside the offices and links it with the rest of the structures. The next three pavilions are taller, cubic and float over the grass. They are constructed with a thin steel frame and cladded with wooden panels. Resembling containers in a dock and somehow alluding to the maritime and nautical local tradition, they are skewed from the other pavilions of the site, so that the face Gibraltar directly.


The last pavilion is again white and rooted in the soil, as the first ones. It contains the playroom. A long window allows an ample view to Gibraltar and a skylight in its centre provides strong natural lighting for the games.


In the space between this pavilion and the previous one, an old pool for oar training was preserved. To cross it, the main path becomes a bridge that overflies it.


The fence was entirely reconstructed, now using vertical strips of weathering steel, again skewed and oriented to Gibraltar.