Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
Phone: +41 61 385 5757
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
Today we face an empty lot in the traditional, homogeneous and perfect space of the city, and on this empty lot there is a little forest growing naturally, as if by chance. What shall we do? We like the empty space, we like the trees, but we would also like to restore the solidity and physical presence of the original Plaza de Belen. A paradox?
Our proposal: a walled garden becomes the Ciudad del Flamenco.
We do not want a blockbuster building, but rather a puzzle of fragments that can grow, and integrate other buildings, existing ones as well as new ones. The garden is the heart of the Ciudad del Flamenco. It is the core out of which the city can grow and expand as the need arises. There is no hurry and, above all, there are no architectural or artistic constraints because the strategy of the project does not constitute a single building, but rather it is a city (of Flamenco) within the city (of Jerez).
A partially perforated wall follows the historical contours of the city. A tower rises above this wall. Its scale recalls the two towers of the Alcazar and it also engages in an urban dialogue with the nearby Cathedral.
The materiality of the project is reduced to the traditional, homogeneous use of stone that characterizes the Old Town. The perforated wall itself, as well as the interior of the garden form a topography out of extruded, sunken and projecting bodies, generating a rich interplay between outside and inside spaces. The Ciudad del Flamenco is a radically contemporary and dynamic platform for performers and audience.
The surfaces of the Ciudad del Flamenco consist of poured, perforated and artificially processed concrete; they follow the lines, shapes and patterns of Gypsy tradition and Arabic ornamentation. Both traditions are extremely contemporary; to be more precise, they are a centuries-old and ceaselessly new source of inspiration for contemporary art and daily culture. We encounter them in punk and rock music, in tattoos, in symbols and emblems, in patterns and in many other places. This kind of ornamentation informs the concrete at the Ciudad del Flamenco.
Our proposal for Jerez might be seen as an artificial and iconographical topography whose spirit draws on the traditions of the Gypsy world, the Arabic world, and contemporary every-day life and culture.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2004
The Old Town, with its squares, is surrounded by a ring of bodegas, each defining its own district.
The designated location, which was formerly occupied by numerous buildings, is now a gap site in a dense urban fabric. A small thicket has sprung up on the site.
A garden with a wall and a variety of structures will both restore the coherence of the old Plaza de Belén and preserve the current openness of the square. The flamenco center is laid out as a topography of different elements sunk into or rising from the ground, giving the area an identity of its own.
The perimeter wall of the Ciudad del Flamenco is a special zone with various features—from fountains to benches to courtyards.
The ground floor and lower ground floor show the extent to which the center is formed from the idea of a garden with individual buildings.
A mighty, extruded tower enters into dialog with the historic towers of the cathedral and the Alcázar.
The perimeter wall and the tower have external ornamentation based on traditional patterns seen in Arab cultures.
The final patterns are informed by the culture of the Moors, the Sinti, the Romani, and today’s graffiti artists. The tags developed from these are applied to the entire facade depending on its functional and structural requirements.
The ornamentation becomes a heterogeneous net that envelops the built structures in an all-over pattern.
A topographic model with sunken, raised and extruded built structures.
The abstract yet visually powerful urban landscape with a variety of buildings and openings.
The many and varied spaces and courtyards in the perimeter wall of the Ciudad del Flamenco.
1:1 Styrofoam mock-ups of the facade and its incorporated benches. Adjusting the ornamentation to fit the built structure.
1:1 mock-up of a corner of the facade. The Styrofoam filling the voids is burnt off and struck away once the armature has been constructed and the concrete poured.
The four-meter-tall full-scale mock-up of a corner shows the interplay of ornamentation and space and the archaic character of this delicate pattern.
Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 2002-2004. The Complete Works. Volume 5.” Birkhäuser, 2020.
Paul Andersen, David Salomon: “Promiscuous Patterns, Synthetic Architecture.” In: The President and Fellows of Havard College (Eds.). “Harvard Design Magazine.” Vol. No. 31, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2009. pp. 128-134.
Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.): “Arquitectura Viva. Herzog & de Meuron 1978-2007.” 2nd rev. ed. Madrid, Arquitectura Viva, 2007.
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Terence Riley: “Ciudad del Flamenco.” In: “On-Site. Arquitectura en España. Hoy.” Exh. Cat. On-Site. “New Architecture in Spain.” The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 12 February – 1 May 2006. 2nd ed. Madrid, PromoMadrid S.A., Desarrollo Internacional de Madrid, 2006. pp. 170-175.
“Ciudad del Flamenco. Jerez. Concurso Internacional. International Competition.” Edited by: Departamento de Comunicación, Gerencia Municipal de Urbanismo, Ayuntamiento de Jerez. 2003. (= Biblioteca GMU/1). pp. 22-29.