Project: Cidade da Cultura de Galicia
Architects: Peter Eisenman
Location: Outer Ring
In 1999 the Xunta de Galicia organised an international competition to select the project for building the Cidade da Cultura de Galicia, a grand cultural facility with a vast programme including different museums, a library, a newspaper and periodicals library, an opera house and a study and research institutions.
The competition was divided into two phases. First of all, twelve teams were selected by means of a merit competition. Of these, five were Spanish, led by Ricardo Bofill, Santiago Calatrava, Manuel Gallego, Juan Navarro Baldeweg and César Portela; one German, that of Daniel Libeskind; two French, led by Jean Nouvel and Dominique Perrault; one Dutch, Rem Koolhaas and OMA; one Swiss, that of Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer; and, finally, two North American, Steven Holl and Peter Eisenman, who was the eventual winner.
Eisenman's project reflects the architect's intellectual and creative stature. This architect, after a brilliant career as an architect critic and scholar, set up his studio at the age of fifty. Eisenman proposes a topographic building in which the undulating roofs of the different buildings mimic the relief of Monte Gaiás, with profound crevices for moving around and entering the different volumes.
Eisenman proposed, once construction had begun, paying tribute to his fellow
countryman John Hejduk, integrating into the City of Culture two towers designed by the deceased architect for Belvís Park.
The formidable size of the complex, which has the same area as Compostela's historical quarter, its valuable architecture and range of cultural activities fulfil Santiago's objective of becoming an indispensable reference point in the international cultural circuit.
The City of Culture features the permanent exhibition “Peter Eisenman, A Cidade,” which serves as an interpretation centre enabling us to “read” the complex’s architecture and follow the lines that mark and organise the ensemble.