SULA
by gon – Gonzalo Pardo

Dance and theatre school in Las Tablas, Madrid.

It was the beginning of May 2019, Lara and Susana contacted us through a mutual friend to tell us they had rented a ‘very strange’ place in Las Tablas neighbourhood in Madrid where they wanted to place their own dance and theatre school. We met for the first time in our office, where they commissioned us with the project in exchange for only two conditions: the budget couldn’t exceed 40,000 euros and the centre has to be up and running within four months.

On the border between the countryside and the city, in a residual plot resulting from poor urban planning, is SULA, a space for teaching, production and consumption of dance and theatre for children and adults. The initial conditions of the premises are clear: a space of 89 square meters with a sand floor, sanitary facilities seen from the ceiling and a blind brick facade very visible from the road.

Decision-making is in favour of the economy of the project and seeks at all times the principle of minimum energy and maximum results. From the outside to the inside, the façade, which is executed with three types of standard windows at different heights, narrates the interior-exterior relations in different ways, seeking to be an element of mediation and urban connection that articulates the space of the city located between the existing buildings and the school itself.
Indoors, the project is thought as a great room, where the position of the bathroom cabin -with the universal accessibility required by regulations- determines the spatial configuration. The teaching centre is organised by programmatic bands in which, from the larger side of the triangle to the smaller one, the storage space, the main room, the changing room and the entrance reception follow one another.

Taking into account the state of the matter of contemporary practice in the field of dance and theatre, where the conception of a ductile, elastic, malleable and mutable space is sought above all, the school is set as an experimental space, flexible, adaptable, soft and versatile, thanks to a curtain system that allows its transformation. These hanging structures, besides offering acoustic isolation, allow multiple configurations depending on the spatial needs that are demanded at each moment (class, sample or rehearsal), admitting transformations where the luminous and acoustic vibrations, dances, turns, games and gravitations, elements of today’s scenic world, take place.

The construction of the project took place between the months of August and September, opening the curtains to the public on Tuesday October 1st 2019.

Credits:

Architect: gon- Gonzalo Pardo
Colaborators: Carol Pierina Linares, Alejandro Sánchez Zaragoza, Carlos Barranco Carreras.
Construction: Serviteco Obras sl.
Textile: Rabadán S.A
Facade: Fer Segovia + OBOE
Year: 2019
Location: Madrid
Client: El Universo de SULA
Area: 89 m2
Photography: Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

Architects: gon

www.gon-architects.com
info@gon-architects.com

Conde de Xiquena, 7, 3º Planta
28007, Madrid, SPAIN

gon is a Madrid-based architecture and design office headed by Gonzalo Pardo since 2014. His practice focuses on research and development of singular architectural projects of different scales ranging from urban planning to buildings to interior construction.

The common denominator of his works is a playful, experimental, critical and optimistic view of the contemporary. In a constant dialogue based on observation and details, his interest focuses on the creative processes of architectural design and construction, as well as the role of mediation and communication of architecture as fundamental vehicles for transforming the world into a place more sustainable, worthy and free.

Gonzalo Pardo is an architect from ETSAM (School of Architecture of Madrid) since 2007, and has a PhD in Architecture since 2016. His thesis “Body and House: Towards the contemporary domestic space from the transformations of the kitchen and bathroom in the West” obtained the outstanding Cum Laude rating, and received for it the 2016-2017 Extraordinary Doctoral Thesis Award and an honorable mention in the XI call for the Arquia Foundation Thesis Contest.

Since 2007 he teaches as a visiting professor at different universities and institutions, in subjects with the common denominator of being linked to the project, as in the European Institute of Design (IED), in Madrid; the Illiois Institute of Technology (IIT), in Chicago, United States; Lund University, in Sweden, and the Master in Collective Housing (MCH), in Madrid. He has been a professor in the Master in Architectural Communication (MaCA) and in the Master in Advanced Projects (MPAA) of the Department of Architectural Projects at ETSAM.

He is currently an associate professor in the Department of Architectural Projects at ETSAM, where he teaches undergraduate projects. Member of the Hypermedia research group: Communication Workshop and Architectural Configuration, he directs doctoral theses as a teacher and researcher, as well as numerous End of Master’s Projects (TFM) and Final Degree Projects (TFG).

He has been deputy curator of the Spanish pavilion at the 16th Venice Biennale, and since 2000 he has obtained 41 national and international awards, including the first prize for the remodeling of the AZCA block in Madrid in 2007; the second prizes in the international Skyscraper contests, in New York, and Velux, in Denmark, in 2007; COAM award in 2014 for the Paréntesis curator cycle, and honorable mention in the Europan 14 competition at the Barcelona location. His projects and built work have been widely disseminated in national and international, physical and virtual media.