Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Purpose of Color: The Batel Centre of Cartagena

The Batel is the auditorium and convention centre of Cartagena, a small city of around 200,000 people on the Mediterranean coast in the Murcia region of Spain. Designed by architects José Selgas and Lucía Cano, the centre is a fantastic example of textural color outside and functional color inside.

The city of Cartagena is rich with the traditions of sea based trade, a port town dating back  to around 200 BC. The architects used our spherical coordinate system of longitude to inspire the look and layout of the center and focused on color to bring out the linear threads of the building. Not shy about its industrial neighbors you can see the shipping cranes peeking out from behind the buildings brightly striped exterior.

Much of the exterior is covered with striped and slatted multicolor siding along with two undulating translucent facades made from ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a type of plastic of great resistance to heat, corrosion and UV) which instead of being painted after the fact is dyed during extrusion with neon pigment. But the real eye for color continues to entice once you venture inside.

The Batel is interesting not just for its cultural sensitivity to its surroundings, liner inspiration, or colorful exterior, but because the interiors use color in very specific and well thought out ways. The architects took into account the myriad of ways, and kinds of events, these types of convention centers produce  and designed various halls to accommodate the desired mood or atmosphere for different types of events. Having a relaxing but interesting talk on the application of quantum computers? Try Hall A, one of the complexes auditoriums, nestled just blow sea level and paneled in deep blue polycarbonate to keep the space, used for everything from heated discussions, lectures to music performances and poetry slams, feeling relaxing and harmonious. But perhaps after the lecture you need to get your scientists moving, inter mingling, sharing ideas?  Then move over to Hall B, designed with airy ceilings and warm colors  which suggest a stimulating  experience in an inviting atmosphere.  The Batel uses color not only to delineate different spaces but to activate a similar mind set in a diverse and disparate crowd of people.

All images via Javier1949

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