Ciudad Darío (pop. 12,000), birthplace of the modernist poet Ruben Darío, has historically been one of the poorer Nicaraguan cities due to its relative lack of arable land. It is, nevertheless, an important regional node due to its geographic location approximately midway between the capital Managua and the coffee-producing region of Matagalpa. A meeting/recreational complex, to be completed over several stages, was therefore proposed by a local NGO. The first stage, a communal center/meeting hall, is intended for temporary operation pending the completion of further stages
Intended as a multi-purpose meeting hall to serve both the immediately surrounding barrios as well as national organizations, this building contains both particular responses to the hot, arid local climate and a regional architectural language as a recognition of building’s potential role in the national economy. The deployment of an orthogonal reinforced concrete frame and an engineered steel roof structure serves to set off a variety of screens, windows, and walls which acquire a reading as infill, staging a dialogue between the permanent and the circumstantial. The layers of screens that filter both light and sound provide a range of relations to the exterior, from the simply framed to the heavily mediated, admitting while partially negating the harshness of the environment. Within the assembly area, the patterns cast by the sun’s motion mark the passage of time on the untextured, homogeneous floor plane, intentionally abstracted and undifferentiated so as to imply the need for articulation by light and by occupation. The range of spaces in this building accommodate a variety of activities, from the public to the intimate, where it offers the possibility for contemplation.
Stage 1: 200 person auditorium/multi-use room, reception, bar, disk jockey booth, public washrooms;
Stage 2: kiosk, basketball court, children's play area, perimeter wall, landscaping, outdoor parking area.
Client: ACCA/Las Segovias, Spain