Studio: Xavi Cornejo arquitectes
Authors: Xavier Cornejo i Mata
Location: Girona, Spain
Video: Fragments

Eixera is the winning proposal of the tender called by the Catalonia’s College of Architects to refurbish its site in Girona. It is placed in the building called La Pia Almoina (14th century), in the middle of the Jewish quarter of the city, framing the stairway of the Cathedral.

The building La Pia Almoina has undergone a long and complex evolution since its construction. The most important change has been the construction of a huge metal structure closed with glass block at the back of the building, in 1974.

The submitted project proposal was based on the idea that land and culture endure through the ages… and that construction adapts to the demands of each moment. For this reason, we proposed the space Eixera to be semi-open, semi-closed.

Eixera achieves the transformation of the ground floor, the first floor and most of the metal structure in the semi-exterior space. The majority of the old closings of glass block have been removed and substituted by wood slats, it being understood that it is an open but covered space. Therefore, it protects people from the rain; it lets air circulate freely (no need of air-conditioner) and it is tailored to the existing environmental conditions.

In the execution phase, we have introduced a closing made of wood and glass from the first to the fourth floor and it clearly singles out the interior spaces from the semi-exterior spaces. Thus, both at functional and conditioning level, the reform is clearer.

Why did you choose this category?: COLLECTIVE PLACES

The La Pia Almoina building is located in a privileged place of Girona, in the middle of the old town and next to the Cathedral stairway. It has always been a building intended for private use, without any interaction with the citizens.

Nowadays, the main use of the building is to be the seat of the Official College of Architects of Girona.

Eixera is the winning proposal of the tender called by the Catalonia’s College of Architects to reform this building. Apart from the accomplishment of the functional requirements, the project’s major attraction is the connection between the building and the citizens by involving them in the interior.

This intervention has managed to create a passage between the streets and the different levels of the surroundings. The citizens can now walk across the Eixera through a semi-open space as if it was another street of the old town. However, this is unlike a common street because it is an interior passage inside an emblematic building until now unknown to the majority of the population.

The huge metal structure covered with wood slats creates an interesting interplay of light and shade that arouses the curiosity of the users and stimulates the use of this space.

This project has achieved the objective of making part of this building available to the citizens so they can benefit from a new space full of architecture, culture and history.