It’s a stellar example of adaptive reuse. What was originally constructed in 1512 as the Hospital de San Sebastián by Spanish architect Hernán Ruiz is today the Palacio de Congresos de Córdoba, a conference and exhibition center recently renovated by LAP Arquitectos. Over the five-century span, when the building transitioned into just maternity functions, and then Palacio de Congresos in 1985, its Gothic and Renaissance stylings were given the highest level of historic protection, meaning LAP had to modernize the 28,000 square feet of interior space without altering the structure itself.
The most dramatic intervention can be seen in the main meeting hall, where extensive warm wood juxtaposes with the existing lime-mortar facade. LAP sheathed the ceiling in undulating slats of beech, obfuscating the black acoustic paneling behind. “We used traditional materials in a contemporary language,” associate David Pérez Herranz says. More acoustic panels of white-stained pine cover the walls. “The sound characteristics are one of the room’s best features,” associate Rafael Pérez Morales adds. “Nordic architecture is an inspiration for us,” associate Rafael Pérez Herranz says of the minimalism. But with Spanish flair, the trio wrapped the 750 custom seats in matador-red upholstery.