The Botin Art Center belongs to the Botin Foundation and is located on the coast of Santander, in a privileged place facing the sea. For the architects Renzo Piano and Luis Vidal, the location has determined the configuration of the building, suspended over pillars and columns, cantilevered over the bay, magnificently integrated with the surroundings.
The Centro Botín is a new space for art, culture and the diverse activities of the Fundación Botín. It is constructed in the Jardines de Pereda, on the seafront of the city of Santander in north-western Spain.
The center is organized into two parts, a west and an east wing, joined by an elevated walkway that culminates in a platform cantilevered out over the sea.
The west wing of the building is an exhibition space: 2,500 sq. Meters of 5m-high versatile spaces over two levels providing galleries and support areas. The upper level has a skylight system that allows some of the gallery space to be naturally lit.
The smaller east wing focuses on education and accommodates a convertible 7.5m-high auditorium space with 300 removable seats and, on the building’s upper level, a multi-purpose area of approximately 255 sqm. The auditorium has a glazed façade to the south, offering the option to have speakers, actors or musicians performing against the backdrop of the bay with its traffic of ships.
Both buildings are raised thanks to supporting columns. Together with the buildings’ curved shape, this structure lightens the facility’s presence on the site and allows clear views from the park to the sea. The curved edges also draw light and reflections off the water into space under the building. The exterior is clad with small off-white ceramic tiles that easily adapt to the shape of the building, and that also has a bright, mother-of-pearl finish, which strengthens the building’s luminosity.
The interior also surprises, and for Martínez Otero it has been very satisfactory to be able to manufacture and install the furniture of the offices, the conference rooms, the shop and the reception areas. All in wood and high-performance materials, in natural finishes.