Tarragona, Spain

Centro Cultural Sant Pau

7.000 ㎡

de Tarragona
Creative Director
Jordi Fernández
Eduardo Gutiérrez
Joan Sorrondegui
Jordi Farell
Georgina Morales
Ricard Gonzalvo
Davidi Labori
Elena Roland
Belen Cruz
Graphic Designer
Natalia Cambello

Xavier Badia


Amid a historic setting, the new intervention creates a multifunctional complex framed by a heritage building. The original conditions of the building are preserved, adapted to an extensive program using the best technology and design to generate a new sensory experience in which architecture joins forces with science, art, religion, and history. The transformation of the Tarragona Seminary involves various interventions to adapt and refurbish different parts of the heritage complex dating from the 19th century. A variety of needs are accounted for, as well as a program that places more importance on a cultural perspective than on the building’s original uses. The design aims to enrich and highlight the pre-existing spaces through architecture that showcases the heritage of the original construction.

The Sant Pau cloister
The most significant areas include the Sant Pau cloister, with its chapel dating from the 13th century, now protected under a new roof with an organic, structural matrix that shows off a unique geometry. A series of skylights lets in natural light through domes made from high-resistance plastic membranes. The construction process involved anchoring a preliminary structure made from metallic tubing. The structure was then covered by zinc sheets on top of a waterproof wooden platform, creating circular skylights made from ETFE membranes. At the same time, the ancient Roman city wall is integrated into a series of multipurpose rooms and meeting rooms that run parallel to it. This adaptation also led to the incorporation of event rooms in addition to the offices of the archbishop’s delegations. The interventions also encompassed the auditorium and the historical library, unique spaces where the existing architectural qualities were respected as part of the initiative to generate greater citizen implication with the historical and heritage legacy of the seminary.

Technical specifications
The second design phase includes more limited interventions in which the necessary spaces have been created for the program pre-established by the seminary. Here, again, the original architectural language of the interiors has been respected, except in spaces such as classrooms and multipurpose rooms where the acoustic requirements and furnishing needs demanded a more specific adaptation. The intervention in the library courtyard includes the creation of a bridge-overlook for interconnecting entrances; the planes of the façade are covered with phenolic panels in an exploded view that highlights the verticality of the enclosure.