The Building

The Centro Botín is an arts centre designed by Pritzker Prize-winner architect Renzo Piano, in co-authorship with luis vidal + architects. It is located in a privileged part of Santander and uses a broader urban intervention to integrate the city centre and the historic Pereda Gardens with the Bay.

The building has a total built-up area spanning 8,739 m², which is made up of two blocks, connected by a structure of squares and the walkways known as – “the pachinko”.

The west block is dedicated to art, with two exhibition rooms measuring a total of 2,500 m2; and the east block is for cultural and educational activities, boasting an auditorium for 300 people, classrooms, work spaces, and a rooftop terrace to enjoy the breathtaking views of Santander and its Bay.

I feel truly honoured to have taken on this project for the city of Santander because it is yet another example in my repertoire of open, tolerant, and accessible cultural spaces, joining the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Auditorium in Rome, Fondation Beyeler in Basel, the Morgan Library in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago; all urban spaces loved by the people”, says Renzo Piano.

In this project, the public spaces created around the building are just as important as the building itself. The squares to the north and west of the building are two of the most important spaces, and have become places to relax and to enjoy the Gardens and the Bay. The amphitheatre is in the west square, and is an open-air space used for cultural activities. Thanks to the huge screen on the building’s façade, the amphitheatre also serves as an open-air cinema, and from here, even the activities taking place within the centre can be watched.

With the addition of a tunnel, the age-old Pereda Gardens have been remodelled and extended, doubling in size and tripling the amount of green areas all the way out to the sea.  These changes have enhanced the visual connection between the old town of Santander and its bay, freeing up what was once a port area closed off to the public, and used only as a car park.

The Centre is part of the daily lives of Santander’s residents and strengthens the social and cultural fabric of the city. It will be a new meeting place which, through art, music, cinema, theatre and literature, will boost life in the city.
Light, airiness, and integration with the surrounding environment were all essential components for Renzo Piano when designing the project.

Overhanging the sea, the building does not actually touch the ground, it is instead suspended on pillars and columns that reach the height of the tree tops in the Pereda Gardens, resembling a pier out onto the sea. The fact that it is raised above the ground lets light pass through and offers views out over the bay, blending in completely with the environment.

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URBAN PLANNING

Remodelling of the Pereda Gardens

Thanks to the project to extend and improve the Pereda Gardens, led by landscape designer Fernando Caruncho in collaboration with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, this historic park has doubled in size, going from 20,000 m2 to 48,000 m2, and tripling its green areas from 7,003 m2 to 20,056 m2.

The remodelling project has preserved the gardens’ memories, respecting their essential elements and enhancing everything kept within them and protected all this time. Caruncho says: “This project merges the past with the present in a 21st century design, looking towards the future”.

Construction of the Tunnel

The extension of the city centre to the sea through the Pereda Gardens has been possible thanks to the burying of the former road that ran in front of the Gardens by means of the construction of a new tunnel that enables over thirteen million vehicles to pass through it each year, eliminating the danger, pollution and noise caused by traffic in the area.

THE BUILDING. IMAGES

Renzo Piano: The Architect

Since winning the competition to design the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1971 alongside Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano, who was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998, has shown a unique ability to create buildings that integrate perfectly with their surroundings, where life is lived through art and culture.

That is why the Fundación Botín turned to the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) to take on what would be the most important project yet in its 50-year history: the Centro Botín. A space for art, culture, and learning, designed not only to continue but also to boost the work carried out by the Fundación Botín in visual arts since 1984.

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CRISTINA IGLESIAS: From the underground

From the underground, 2017. Cristina Iglesias. ©Luis Asin

From the underground, 2017. Cristina Iglesias. ©Luis Asin

From the underground, 2017. Cristina Iglesias. ©Luis Asin

From the underground, 2017. Cristina Iglesias. ©Luis Asin

From the underground, 2017. Cristina Iglesias. ©Luis Asin

From the underground, 2017. Cristina Iglesias. ©Luis Asin

Cristina Iglesias, winner of the National Prize in Visual Arts and one of Spain’s most internationally renowned artists, designed a sculptural intervention specifically for the surroundings of the Centro Botín and the Pereda Gardens, consisting of four wells and a pond, titled Desde lo subterráneo (From the underground).

It is a series of five bas-reliefs in grey stone, containing organic motifs sculpted in molten steel, which the artist claims simulate the seaweed that could exist “in a possible undersea garden, brimming to the surface”.  The water, which in some cases flows vertically and in others, horizontally, does so at different rhythms between the five water sources, creating a sequence between the sculptural interventions and passers-by.

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Centro Botín

Albareda Dock no/d,

Peredas gardens

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