Santiago de Compostela, is home to the City of Culture of Galicia, a complex by Peter Eisenman of buildings dedicated to promoting cultural activities.
The city of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, is home to the City of Culture of Galicia, a complex of buildings dedicated to promoting cultural activities. The City of Culture of Galicia is an ambitious project that was designed by American architect Peter Eiseenman. The City of Culture of Galicia was inaugurated in 2011 and aims to become an emblem of European cultural tradition.
For centuries, especially during the Middle Ages, Santiago de Compostela has been a cultural icon for the western world. Millions of pilgrims have traveled to northern Spain from all over Europe and the world to visit both the Santiago Cathedral and the Holy Apostle’s tomb. Santiago de Compostela’s rich history and mix of both cultural tradition and modernity make the city an ideal location to host the City of Culture cultural complex.
The Junta de Galicia, which is the name of the local government of the community, came up with the project in 1999 and held an open design competition. The idea was to build a cultural complex on top of Mount Gaiás, an emblematic location to the city of Santiago de Compostela.
The winner of the competition was an architect named Peter Eisenman whose project idea was chosen because of its “unique concept and expression and exceptional harmony with the location”. Peter Eisenman is an American and a member of the Five Architects group of New York. In addition to being an architect, he is also holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in fine arts from the University of Chicago.
The concept of the architect’s project for the City of Culture on Mount Gaiás was to design a new human-made peak for Mount Gaiás, reminiscent of an archaeological site made of a stony crust. The buildings are both straight and fluted, designed to look like rolling hills, with natural breaks that resemble scallop shells, the traditional symbol of Santiago pilgrims. The buildings, although extremely challenging to build, integrate perfectly with the natural mountain surroundings.
The City of Culture of Galicia complex Mount Gaiás occupies an area of 141,800 m² (35 acres) divided into several sections:
- Library and the Archive of Galicia
- Museum of Galicia
- Center for Music and Performing Arts
- International Art Center
- Central Services
- Surroundings: including the Hejduk towers, built as a memorial to the architect John Hejduk, which are a group of towers surrounded by a 25.000 m (8,202 ft) forested area with 5 points of access.