Casanova+Hernandez architects | A044_Carnaval Museum


A044_Carnaval Museum

Cadiz, Spain

The Viña district is a dense district, formed by twisting streets originated by the successive transformations of the alignments of the buildings throughout their history.

The Museum of the Carnival of Cádiz follows the process of transformation of the district by using the same elements that originated their urban structure: compact buildings perforated by small patios and small squares that arise as a result of the set back of the constructions on their alignments.

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On ground floor, the rectangular contour of the building becomes blurred by means of the set-back of the facades. These set-back areas mark the accesses to the museum and will also become part of the network of improvised stages to sing ‘chirigotas’ during the carnival.

By using this strategy, the ‘chirigota’, that is one of the characteristic elements that make the Carnival of Cádiz so exceptional, is ‘melded’ with its urban scene, transforming the museum and its environs during the Carnival into one of the main centres of activity.

Organization and identity

The building is divided into two parts: “the black box” and “the mask”.

“The black box” is a concrete prism located in the interior of the building that lodges all the uses that do not need natural light and that must be acoustic isolated: assembly hall, temporary exhibitions, projection of audio-visual material rooms, etc.

“The mask” is in charge of defining the ‘face’ of the museum towards the city of Cádiz and consists of a white concrete wall where seven big openings are cut out.

These openings show the colorful outside skin of the ‘black box’ towards the street, that is bright yellow, allow the entrance of some natural light in the interior of the ‘box’ and allow slanted views towards the outside.

On ground floor the openings in the “mask” allow the accesses from the street to the museum and show towards the street the most public activities of it.

On the roof the openings of the “mask” are transformed into three patios that give light to the administration spaces.

The exhibition

The interior of the museum offers an alive and vibrant space where the combination of activities and exhibitions is marked by the contrast between the areas located inside the black box and those located in the light strip.

The fact that the “black box” and the “mask” are the only structural elements of the building allows the creation of continuous and diaphanous spaces that guarantee great flexibility of use.

The openings in the wall of the black box allow the connection between the two zones in multiple points thus providing different itineraries for the visit of the museum.

The compact scheme of the museum and the use of the concrete as main material in the construction of the building has a positive effect in the relation between durability, maintenance and cost.

In the façade, the white concrete walls and the perforations in all their surface will establish a dialog with the surroundings and will represent the festive and specific identity of the Carnival of Cádiz.

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Cádiz Municipality, Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Cádiz
Museum of Carnival
1.500 m²
3.800 m²
€ 4.500.000