Despite all the media hype surrounding the opening of the CaixaForum of Seville, it’s hard not to succumb to nostalgia if we compare the building with what it could have been: the poetic intervention at the Royal Dockyards that the Caixa Foundation backed out of in 2012 in order to transfer the project to Pelli Tower (which was then in the hands of the banking entity).
Nevertheless, the CaixaForum can only be good news for Seville, which becomes part of world-class cultural circuits, and it serves to inject new life into an area that has needed a boost since the end of Expo 1992: Cartuja Island.
Though he lost the opportunity to refurbish the historical Dockyards, Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra has successfully worked out a genuinely difficult task: fitting out a preexisting construction, the Podium Building (huge base for César Pelli’s skyscraper), to house two exhibition halls, an auditorium, multipurpose spaces, a café, and a bookstore. Avoiding an impossible dialogue with the skyscraper, the architect instead connects all these facilities through a basement, but does announce his project’s public character by means of a marquee sculpted with curved planes of aluminum foam, through which sunlight is filtered towards an inner cavern. This small, subtle attraction is with no doubt the most alluring feature of a convincing intervention, being, as it is, at once a confirmation and a negation of the iconic character that is ordinarily expected of buildings of this kind.