In the Spanish resort of Tenerife, local architect Fernando Menis has created an arts centre that brilliantly evokes the island's mountains, cliffs, beaches and ocean
With its abundance of idyllic beaches, volcanic landscapes and constant tropical climate, Tenerife hardly needs to resort to eye-catching architecture to attract tourists. But, by any international standards, the £20m Magma arts centre on the largest of the Canary Islands is an inspiring work.
Not that local architect Fernando Menis had to search far for design inspiration. He just let the rugged mountains on the south-east coast of the island and the blue Atlantic Ocean on the other take over the architecture. The resulting 20,400 m2 building is an arresting collection of sheer, angular cliff faces in rough, raw concrete, above which a liquid roof laps, thereby living up to the centre's name. Gaps between the waves serve as vents and clerestory windows.
The combination of massive concrete cliffs and smooth-flowing metal canopies continues through the building interior. Here, sharp hollow splinters in the concrete walls house offices, toilets and services. Between them stretch large cavernous foyers and halls, which can be used for congresses, exhibitions and concerts. The largest hall seats 2500 people but can be partitioned into a collection of smaller halls ranging in size from 200 to 1500 seats.
By these means, this huge and forceful human intervention makes a remarkably soft landing on the raw natural landscape of Tenerife.