ABOUT MENIS ARCHITECTS IN THE PRESIDENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CANARY ISLANDS (TENERIFE ISLAND).
Situated in a strategic geographical location between the European and American continents, and yet close to Africa, the Canary Islands constitute a logistic Atlantic intersection between these three continents.
The location of the Presidential headquater of the canary Islands Government contitutes the starting-off point of the urban restrcturing of the historic area of the city of Tenerife. Fernando Menis (www.menis.es) won a public competition for this building.
The carácter of the building is trengthened by the mixing of fissured masses of basalto (volcanic local stone) and ecological concrete. (part of MENIS philosophy of work is “cero kilometer” and always use materials from the place he is working on). The emphatic image of the building dialogues with the urban landscape, and plays a significant role in the urban structure of the place. The unified envelope, whose fragmentary carácter takes on a certain autonomy, develops around a piece of architecture of enormous cultural importante to the city: “ the patio of the Casa Hamilton.”
The island contex in which his professional activity unfolds, one circumscribed by the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean, is characterized by a morphology that is volcanic in origin, and by specific attributes of luminosity, color, the trade winds, the maritime horizon. All these being a source of energy, and inspiration for us. This is another part of our vision of the process of work: always think in the place where Menis is going to work.
The planning strategy is defined more by complicity in the ongoing search for lines of action and Communications with the client than by the following of current disciplinary system. This is other of Menis characteristics: the continuos briefing with the client.
In the Project development we seek to get most out of the material and the implements that have emerged and been tested in other different building in the island.
The recuperation and reinterpretation of artisanal labor, originating in tradicional building system, encourages the incorporation and contribution of the workers in the building work. This link leads to Joint participation and to a reciprocal research and learning process founded on aerlier Works.
The volumes of the Presidential building dialog with the brackdrop of the mountains physically delimiting the city to the northeast: the Cordillera de Anaga. The scheme, located in an historic urban enviroment, embraces the San Telmo church, the San Carlos Barracks and a Group of trees, Indian laurels, in the parade ground of the latter. The extensive and unified urban space of the publibined with c plaza in essentially defined by its paving and vegetation. Smooth surfaces of Black basat are combined with areas of paving ash and tree-shaded zones of volcanic grave. The historical layout of the paths, plazas and former city wall are affirmed by utiizing boulders or lines of Stones, these being integrated into the geometry of the zone.
The building, in which all the facilities relating to the Presidency of the Goverment of the Canary Islands will be housed, is sited to the west of the west of the plaza and is planned as a mix of large masses of stone around one of the finest examples of Worden architecture created in the Canaries in the eighteenth Century: the patio of the Casa Halmiton. The tea wood patio was dismantled at the time of the demolition (on the 80s) and stored until the moment of its actual reconstruction. So here it is other of MENIS way of work: re-use, recycle, remake…
The volumes and spaces of the building are directly defined by the load-bearing structure and, characterized by a continuity between form and material, the construction manages to become a means of expresión. The solid is pierced by two axial hollows: a central crater and horizontal passageway across this. These axes intersect in a confluence of visitors, of transparent views, of interrelated floors, of incoming lihgt and natural ventilation that is formalized in the restored patio. Beginning with the spatial factors that this central entity generates, each floor is characterized in a different way.
The ground flour throught which one enters, devoid of supports and resolved with huge structural spans, incorporates the library and function room, and press offices, these spaces being formalized by the concrete structure alone..
The first floor functions as a single vertically structured slab. The honeycombed concrete scrrens that subdivide the administrative uses of the area configure the large edgeways on girders supporting the lower and upper ceilings.
Stone, ecological concrete and recycled wood are the materials that, mixed in different ways, determine and lend meanig to the facings of the building. While on the outsider all the large volumes are constructed wiht facings of rough, quarry-cut basalto, in the more important interior spaces stone of varying colors and texturas will be used, stone coming from the different Islands (Tindaya from Fuerteventura in the Fuction Room, red Gomera stone in the Reception Room.)
The building is very confortable for work, in the words of the President of the Canary Islands and his staff.