Juan Herreros, the architect who designed SOLO’s home, chats to us about this extraordinary project, winner of the prestigious Madrid College of Architects Awards 2018.
From the outset, Espacio SOLO was conceived as a space in permanent flux. It houses an art collection but is not a gallery or museum; it provides a meeting point for a host of different projects and initiatives yet feels more like a home than an office. How would you define this unique space?
Espacio SOLO is a typological invention that mixes ingredients of contemporary art venues, domestic domains, working places and urban spaces. This lack of specificity builds its diversity and open spirit; it can be re-configured every day from the most generic to the most sophisticated, from the collective to the intimate. The secret is the material elements that recall urban and industrial culture, the spatial layout that offers a series of experiences and unpredictable surprises, and the atmosphere that manipulates visitors’ perception of time.
While you were working on this project, Colección SOLO continued to grow. Did that present any specific difficulties or challenges?
Although this was not a tailored project, the collection’s growth in parallel with the project was the permanent topic that glued the design process and the ongoing dialogue with the collectors. Obviously, the space is informed by the kind of art that it hosts but it works as a medium to think about the need for flexibility of formats, resources and devices that contemporary life is offering us.
Espacio SOLO has a labyrinth-like feel. Wherever a visitor happens to be, they have a range of different routes available, all of which seem equally enticing. Do you like the idea of visitors exploring or even losing their way?
There are different audiences in Espacio SOLO. Visitors who come to discover the collection and space by themselves are conducted by the spatial configuration of corridors, squares and rooms; they feel like explorers of an unknown territory. For those attending a programmed event or a professional meeting, meanwhile, the space and collection build a unique environment for…