Berklee Tower of Music. Valencia, 2006
Berklee College of Music is an American institution at the service of contemporary music, in the vanguard of education for young people in popular music. Its vocation for modernity was a big start for proposing the Tower of Music as an idea for their new Music Campus in Valencia.
In opposition to the very “European” character of the Berklee Bostonian horizontal campus, the proposed design for Valencia refers to an “American style” campus; a vertical campus that takes into account the place and its situation of frontier between the urban fabric and the Valencian vegetable garden. The project is born out of the academic program, and from the wish of making the most of all the landscape appeals of the natural, industrial and urban environment that the border situation of the place suggests. To achieve that, we set out a great two- story high podium which incorporates into its volume all the not strictly academic activities of the campus. A parking lot, some commercial spaces, a theatre and the student dormitories
occupy this parallelepiped which extends all over the site. It is a privileged platform that will render into a great public “Music Plaza” at the roof level, as a natural access to the tower that sets on top of it. The Tower of Music rises a 100 m. above this plaza. The building is designed as an ascending double helix generated by four-story high functional blocks which rotate while piling up themselves and connect with an enormous void that follows the same geometry, forming minor plazas at different levels. The structure is taken to the perimeter consisting of a bearing wall built with piled big prestressed concrete beams, which tie to each other, and enable to open doubly cantilevered voids that create privileged “belvederes” of the surrounding landscape. In the Tower of Music, the massive compactness of its exterior enclosure opposes the total transparency of its interior, making the projection among its spaces permeable, both the indoor and the urban ones, allowing sight, air and light cross them, under the protection and shelter of its imposing massive perimeter. The protection against the blinding Mediterranean light, solar radiation, and the exterior noise permeation is thus resolved in an optimum way, generating beautiful illuminated and ventilated spaces. The Tower of Music counts on the architecture to solve responsibly the bioclimatic optimization. It looks for Modernity inside Tradition, and dreams that the creators will be the ones to give life to the proposed spaces.