This colored stone building elevates from the ground like the trees in the thousands of hectares that paint the landscape of the region. In the main theatre hall architects exploited a dramatic atmosphere created by black wood walls cut by stylized trees of light and a roof that holds thousands of leafs, of light as well. The interior is bathed by changing color light sources beneath the main suspended element that provides a connection between the main entrance and the top of the auditoriums.
The cantilevers intelligently provide protection for both summer and winter climates, while they give shadow and protect from the rain.
This region of Spain is famous for its quality fruit production; this has inspired some of the elements designed on the building. Like many trees on the region, which take 5 years to produce quality fruit, this building that took 5 years to growth.
La Llotja has opened with an opera performance, Il Trovatore, announcing a high quality cultural programming.
The mountain with its historic cathedral Seu Vella and the Segre River marks the high point and low point of Lleida (Lerida), the second city of Catolonia, following Barcelona. La Llotja theatre and conference center sits on the banks of the Segre, somewhat outside the centre of the city. Mecanoo’s design interprets the landscape of Lleida as the exciting scenery before which the building has been placed, somewhat further from the river. The mise-en-scène is elaborated on three levels of scale. Regarded from the large scale of the region, the building forms a link between the river and the mountain. Viewed from the urban scale, La Llotja and the river form a balanced composition. At street level the cantilevers of La Llotja de Lleida provide protection from sun and rain.
The large stone edifice seems to have sprouted from the Spanish earth. The building’s horizontal form provides a large garden on the roof, while under the cantilevers begins a square for events, with the stairs of the adjacent building serving as a tribune. Parking has been created underground with the loading area for trucks on the ground level, the same level where the theatre stage, dressing rooms and restaurant kitchen are found. Small trucks can load and unload on level -1. In a light court in the centre of the building, a monumental staircase rises from street level to the multifunctional hall on the first floor. A ramp leads on to the foyer on the second level where there is a panoramic window looking out across the city and the river. The entrances to the theatre, which also serve as a large conference hall, meeting rooms and a small conference room are located in the foyer. The latter is visually connected to the multifunctional hall by means of a raked tribune separated by a glass wall. The press office, VIP rooms and a meeting centre are situated on the city side of the building, accessed by an internal corridor. The entire functional logistics for the theatre and the conference centre are situated inconspicuously but extremely functionally. Restaurants with bars are located on the side of La Llotja facing the river and the square. The monolithic building is in fact composed of different pieces of buildings linked together by sound-absorbing foyers.
Materials ensure distinction and orientation in the interior. The exterior is of stone. Inside there are mainly white, plastered walls and either wooden or marble floors. The entrance hall and the multi-functional hall have a marble floor, while the foyer has a floor of mixed hardwood. The theatre has the atmosphere of an orchard with walls of dark wood in which trees of light have been cut out. Thousands of leaves on the ceiling light the hall. The colour palette of fruit is a theme that recurs in small details throughout the building. After all, the region of Lleida is famous for its fruit production. The roof is colourful: pergolas support a range of creepers and climbers like roses, jasmine and ivy. The garden with its mirador is not only pleasant but also useful since the roof cover keeps the building cool in the summer, provides a beautiful view for people living in the neighbourhood and serves an extra place for conference guests to sojourn.
Theatre and conference centre of 37,500 m2 with a theatre (1000 seats), 2 congress halls (400 and 200 seats) which can be divided into smaller halls, an exhibition hall, 2 multifunctional foyers, press room, restaurant, lounge, 9,500 m² parking, a square of 15,325 m2, Mercolleida office and retail space of 2,591 m2, 1st prize competition. Design: Mecanoo architecten i.c.w. Labb arquitectura, Barcelona.
Centre de Negocis i de Convencions S.A., Lleida, Spain (project); Municipality of Lleida (competition)Lleida
l’Avenida de Tortosa, Lleida, Spain
Photography by Nelson Garrido PHOTOGRAPHER