Located in Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain, the Euskalduna Palace (or Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall) was constructed on a site where the local shipyards were once situated. The architects, Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios, wanted the new building to remind visitors of a vessel constantly under construction. Work started in 1994 and five years later the Euskalduna Palace opened its doors, offering a variety of spaces for cultural, social and financial activities, including a conference center, an opera house, a concert hall and an exhibition center.
About a decade after its grand opening, the exhibition area had grown out of its current space and needed to expand. ENAR, being the principal Spanish architectural office promoting composite envelopes, decided to create a modular enclosure with a modern and urban feel. Not affecting the well-known façade of the existing building, the expansion will add 2,200 m2 to the current exhibition area, making it 4,200 m2 in total.
The idea was to let all materials show through the construction: steel and glass, concrete walls and granite. One important factor was the visibility through the roof, allowing lots of light into the area. Another was the shape of the irregular modules, creating a modern-looking and vibrant landscape. Meeting high requirements for sturdiness, water tightness and thermal and sound insulation, the roof also needed to be easy to assemble and not require any secondary finishing operations.
To achieve this, ENAR needed CCG expertise. The expansion of the Palace Museum was constructed using an outer stainless steel surface with a structure of lightweight sandwich composites. CCG assisted with the fastening and setup of laminates, as well as the structural engineering of the roof. The group also carried out a special study on the integration of steel and composite in a structure long-term. The intriguing shapes and practical solutions used in the Euskalduna Palace extension have inspired other Spanish construction projects. The plan is to use the flexible solutions provided by CCG engineering and Diab cores in reconstructing the Cadiz Court Building and in building the Huelva Research Center.