Archispeak #1 – TEA, Tenerife


Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2008

ARCHITECTS: Herzog & De Meuron, project directed by the Canarian architect Virgilio Gutiérrez


“…..A new public path diagonally cuts through the building complex connecting the top of the General Serrador Bridge with the shore of the Barranco de Santos. On its way down to the Barranco this path is widening and transforming itself into a triangular, semi-covered space in the heart of the cultural centre….This unusual triangular space is a new public plaza which is open and accessible for everyone. The new urban life will be animated by the museum café and restaurant which will be able to serve food and drinks not only in the building but also on the plaza or under the large and shadowy canopy of the existing trees at the Barranco. The plaza can also be used at night as an open air cinema performing films and videos in collaboration with the TEA.”


On a recent visit it was a bleak, grey concrete, empty, soulless space half covered with tatty grey blinds, the antithesis of a bright, colourful and animated Spanish plaza! The only interest is in gawping down into the library area and irritating the readers far below.

Perhaps the interminable greyness of the building was meant to reflect the local volcanic rocks, but in an island of brightly coloured buildings it seems to be yet another example of global architecture that could be plonked down in any city in the world.

A pity it is such a joyless looking building as the exhibitions and facilities within it are excellent.


img_1735A building in Spain, Germany or Japan?

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