The most iconic examples of brickwork tend to be very traditional, such as Flemish Bond brickwork or Gothic Revival Architecture. However, Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Álvaro Siza, proves that brickwork doesn’t have to remain traditional. Siza breaks the mould, creating brickwork that is contemporary, sleek and experimental.
In this blog, we will be taking a look at Siza’s stunning Auditorium Theatre of Llinars del Valles, a fantastic example of modern brickwork located near Barcelona, in the village of Llinars del Vallès. The red brick theatre is comprised of two volumes, with the stage box at the heart of the structure.The first volume is an auditorium seating 300 people, and the second houses the theatre’s offices, including dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces and administration offices.
The theatre’s auditorium is made up of three floors, including one below ground level which houses the technical equipment. The two upper stories contain the stage and the seating, featuring a metal roof that curves gently over the tiered seating – giving the auditorium an elegant touch. A brick fly tower tops the roof and is used to host the theatre’s backdrops.
The plan of the theatre is roughly triangular and features a distinctive combination of straight and curved walls, which has been compared to the South Korean Museum of Modern Art, a building that Siza designed alongside Jun Sung Kim and Carlos Castanheira.
For Siza’s 1992 Pritzker Prize, the jury stated that “his shapes, molded by light, have a deceptive simplicity about them; they are honest.” Viewing his Auditorium Theatre at night from the outside perfectly exemplifies this. The light, filtering out through the panoramic windows, contrasts beautifully with the shadows cast by the building’s outcrops, creating clean and sleek lines.
Another example of Siza’s modern brickwork is the stunning shrimp-shaped office located in an artificial lake in Jiangsu, China. The office features exposed modern brickwork made of white concrete, which curves as far as 300-metres. Despite winning a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement award in 2012, Siza continues to strive towards new architectural goals. His next project is a luxury apartment in New York that is 128 metres tall; this will be his first ever US architectural project in his 82 years.