Fourth Edition 2013-2014
José Maria Sanchez Garcia
José María Sánchez García was born in Don Benito (Badajoz, Spain) in 1975 and graduated in 2002 at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM), where he is nowadays associate professor in architecture. In 2006 he established his own studio in Madrid.
His work has been awarded the first prize in the AR+D Architectural Review Awards for Emerging Architecture (2009), the Design Vanguard 2009 Award, the IX European Prize for Architecture Philippe Rotthier (2011), as well as the distinction for Young Architects at the XI BEAU – Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism and the prize of the VII Iberoamerican Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism; his work was selected for the X Contractworld Award 2010, in the Zumtobel Group Award 2012 and in the Mies van der Rohe Award 2013.
His work has been widely published, nationally and internationally, in periodicals such as “Arquitectura Viva”, “2G”, “Casabella”, “Abitare”, “The Architectural Review”, “Detail”, “Architektur Aktuell”, “Azure”, “Future” and “A+U”.
He has been invited to the Cornell University in New York, held lectures and conferences at the RIBA-Royal Institute of British Architects and in several other universities, both in Spain and abroad; in 2007-2008 he received a scholarship from the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome.
The jury voted unanimously to award the BSI Swiss Architectural Award 2014 to José María Sánchez García for the restoration of the archaeological site around the Temple of Diana in Merida, the centre for sports innovation “el Anillo” in Guijo de Granadilla (Cáceres), and the rowing centre in Alange (Badajoz). According to Mario Botta, Chairman of the BSI Swiss Architectural Award jury, the works presented by José María Sánchez García “are evidences to the maturity of an architect who, though under the age of 40, is able to work with rigour and precision in a wide variety of contexts, from restoring archaeological sites in urban areas to building sports facilities in a striking landscape. His works are both well-measured and powerful at the same time, devoid of formal complacency. He is able to give order and shape to a location while highlighting its specific features. The formal reduction that he creates is accompanied by a great sensitivity in interpreting the site, thereby opening up a rich dialogue. He has won this award among very strong competition coming from a wide range of contexts and styles, which serves to confirm the validity of the selection procedure, based on the nominations provided by the advisors, and the truly international character of this award.”
Environment of the Diana Temple
Mérida (Spain), 2005-2008
The project, resulting from an architectural competition, recovers the environment of the Temple of Diana, a central element to the forum of the Roman city. To intervene in a site of such historical and archaeological significance is a challenge and requires to work, from the beginning, with recent pre-existing elements and those of the Roman times, which we believe are still valid although not entirely recognizable. Thus, the work corresponds to two historical periods 2,000 years apart and defines a space that, since ancient times, served as the frame to the Temple of Diana. On the other hand, resorting to a contemporary language, in that same space we integrated current social and cultural needs, to revive this civic centre and to open it for various uses.
With a team of archaeologists, the rules and guidelines to develop the syntax of the project have been defined, elaborating a strategy capable of responding to the irregularities of the site and to the modifications imposed by archaeological discoveries, creating an open system that is able to develop over time. To recover the Roman centre, the original void was restored, respecting the characteristics of the ancient sacred space: the temple, the two ponds on its sides and the cryptoporticus, now integrated into the square. The project is solved through an L-shaped perimeter, which outlines the margins of the city, freeing a large square around the temple. This particular L-section is derived from the union of a platform with a vertical screen. The platform is positioned at a similar height to that of the podium of the temple and allows for a new visual relationship between the visitor and the temple, whilst the structural screen outlines and accentuates the latter. The space between the perimeter and the city is occupied by a series of masses which could take on various functions.
Environment of the Diana Temple / © Video by Daniele Marucci
José Maria speaks about Tempio di Diana / © Video by Daniele Marucci
Sports Innovation Centre
Guijo de Granadilla, Cáceres (Spain), 2008-2009
The building, resulting from an international competition, is destined as a centre for technological innovation in sporting activities practiced in nature, and emerges in a thickly wooded peninsula in the Gabriel y Galán reservoir in Cáceres. The integration of the project into the environment is achieved by two strategies: scale and materialization. The project, which covers a total surface area of 6,000 m2, was distributed in a circular structure with a circumference of 630 m. As a consequence, the building can only ever be partially seen: even though every fragment is representative of the entire structure, it can only be seen from above. The vastness of the scale dilutes within its environment the building, which, due to its materialization by a system of dry assemblage, manifests itself as a technical object. The building does not alter the natural topography, and its contact points with the ground are reduced to a minimum. The variety and the complexity of the spatial relationship with the existing topography, generated by the variable relationship between the uniform reference height and the changing topography, reinforce the “alien” character of the building and emphasize the peculiarity of the site.
The entire project finds itself in a single, seven-meter wide structure, which thanks to its circular geometry is able to lean as much as possible towards the shore. The project is distributed in single units, separated by open spaces which mark the façade with irregular accents and guarantee the horizontal and vertical distribution. The units face the water and appropriate themselves the adjacent terrain. The autonomous entrances allow for independent sporting activities to be developed, generating at the same time diagonal relationships which make the internal distribution of the building superfluous: it is the same circular shape that organizes and structures the project.
The entire construction is based on standardized and prefabricated metallic profiles, similar to traditional construction in local farms and small factories. The metallic elements have been transported on site like giant pieces of meccano and rapidly assembled, allowing the work to be completed in only six months. Thanks to its large size, the circular implant is constituted by rectilinear elements, with no curved component. The stainless steel panels, placed in a row like teeth, attribute to the work the same variability of a chameleon, varying its appearance according to different lighting and accentuating its glare, reflection, and delicate color gradients.
Sports Innovation Center / © Video by Daniele Marucci
José Maria speaks about the Sports Innovation Centre / © Video by Daniele Marucci
“el Anillo” / © Video di Daniele Marucci
Alange (Spain), 2008-2010
The Rowing Centre is located at the margin of the Alange water reservoir, and is configured as a large concrete base, crowned by a glass pavilion shaped by steel trusses which support, in its lower part, the roof of the main room: a 21 x 21 m open space of flexible use.
One of the main objectives of the project was to respect the surrounding environment. The height of the building is controlled by embedding it into the ground, so as to avoid disrupting the visual relationship between the village and the water. The shape of the base is derived from the perimeter of the lot and of the requirements imposed by the local building code, which determine an irregular plan. The main room is a sort of covered square, placed at the centre, whose dimensions are determined by the radius of curvature required to maneuver the canoes. It is a polyvalent space that can host pedagogical activities, training sessions, and public events. The secondary rooms planned out by the project (the dormitories, the gym, the changing rooms and the offices) are instead located in the residual spaces between the main hall and the irregular perimeter of the base.
The section of the building takes advantage of the existing slope and allows for two entrances: the first one is on the top floor, from which a ramp descends into the main room, whereas the secondary one, used by the boats, is at the base. A big opening allows for light to penetrate inside the building and to meet the ramp, which is hung to the structure and connects the terrace to the inferior floor, becoming the central element.
The entire construction is made out of prefabricated and standardized metallic profiles, analogous to those used in local farms and small factories. The same structure characterizes the building as a sort of light industrial building, which shows the activities generated inside. The materials are assembled in a simple way, left uncoated and with details that accentuate the character of a technical object. The transparency of the structure allows for the main floor to be transformed into a shaded pavilion. A seating area is created along the perimeter (of the project) as it is hollowed into the base, which avoids using a conventional railing and leaves an obstacle-free view of the surrounding environment and of the rowing competitions.
Rowing Centre / © Video by Daniele Marucci
José Maria speaks about the Rowing Centre / © Video by Daniele Marucci