A while ago, in relation to Santa Justa, you mentioned that train stations should be solved on section and bus stations on plan.
—The problem with the Huelva station was that it needed plenty of docks, thirty, but the lot was not too large and it was inconveniently triangular. We tried to come up with the largest perimeter possible within the lot, and found ourselves drawing all possible movements and traces of the buses on this plan – a very unusual floor plan, isn’t it? By drawing these hypothetical movements we produced a completely curvilinear floor plan while the section is of an absolute simplicity. There are only two horizontal planes, the floor and the ceiling, both following the same outline. A structure that is, once again, left unexpressed. The concrete plane of the roof is as horizontal and as neutral as the plane of the floor. In contrast the railway station is a section problem, as illustrated in the project we conceived for Basel. The train moves in a straight line whereas the bus requires versatility in movement that in turn generates other figures. That’s why the section is radically simple and the floor plan so complex.
—In both cases there is a conscious effort to optimize the formal structure.
—The movement of buses generates a fluid and ambiguous geometry. Rafael Moneo pointed out that this fluid geometry contrasts with the circular courtyard, which is the most unitary, most geometrically perfect figure possible. Such encounters of opposites are of much interest to us, and are the source of the surprises and discoveries that our buildings present. The concourse of Santa Justa, the courtyard of Doña María Coronel, the courtyard of the public library in Seville and this circular precinct are all unexpected spaces that supply the intended element of contrast.
—We understand that this project was also the result of a competition. What is your opinion on this system of commissioning works?
—Competitions are a formidable training field, not only for practices with little experience but for veterans as well. Somewhat like training to keep in shape. You learn things that you will later use or transform. And you can also analyze solutions that others have adopted to address the same problem. In competitions we only get upset when we lose and deserve to. When we realize that our proposal is below par...
Conversation of the authors with Luis Moreno Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón.[+]
Junta de Andalucía
Antonio Cruz & Antonio Ortiz
Blanca Sánchez (arquitecta architect); Manuel Delgado, Manuel Pino (aparejadores quantity surveyors)
Blas González (ingeniero engineer); Antonio Pérez Escolano (señalización signage)
Cubiertas y MZOV