Année du projet


NAVARRO BALDEWEG ASOCIADOS en tant que Architectes.


All of the citizens and visitors of the city of Burgos are conscious of the importance that has the crossing of Arlanzón river for the city. The extent of this importance reflects in the unforgettable memory of the city as a link to the river banks and the integrated memory of the numerous views offered from them. On the pavements of the Arlanzón, a set of gardens, all of different character, have been created, that stay connected, and in an urban unity. An extraordinary linear park has been formed. It is a park of gardens, wooded spaces, and open spaces that are free of construction. It is an essential park for the life of the citizen and it introduces a necessary spatial distance that provides panoramic viewpoints and a cross over between the river banks. The Solar de Caballeria occupies an absolutely exceptional position in this setting. From this, the cathedral and the old city are visible. The idea of introducing the Human Evolution Museum MEH in this extraordinary place is linked to the archaeological site of Atapuerca, which is today considered as Patrimonio de la Humanidad by UNESCO and also including in the program the National Centre for Human Evolution Research CENIEH and the spaces for the Fórum, seem like a consequences of a natural vocation of the site, and of a destiny that was waiting for the present moment to make itself a reality. The Museum provides the pavement, which looks towards the cathedral and the old town, with a cultural value capable of equally confronting the partition that the river imposes on the city. Without a doubt, it is the most appropriate site for the Museum, and it demands an ambitious architecture, but at the same time being sensitive to the landscape. The activity that is generated around the of, Exhibition, Convention Centre and Auditorium will revitalize the use and the life of the linear park, demanding a change to maintain and make better the range of its open spaces and gardens, that fortunately have been conserved to this date.

This project consists of an aggregation of three-dimensional pieces that come together, almost compacted, in the site. This nucleus is linked to where the exhibition of human evolution is situated, and to one side of this is the National Centre for Human Evolution Research, and to the other side is the Fórum, consisting of two large halls and a large space for exhibitions, which is illuminated by zenithal lighting that at the same time penetrates into the lobbies. A large two-storied underground car-park is situated beneath this complex.

From the town-planning perspective, and that of the use of the Exhibition, Convention Centre and Auditorium, it is important to mark how this elevated platform permits the distant views of the old town and of the cathedral. Here resides another essential part of the project. The new building captures the most beautiful images of the city, incorporating them to the spectacle and its own activity will be generated around the site.

The structure of the building is concrete, a combination of steel and concrete, and the enclosures of glass. As well as these materials, the grass finishes of the inclined platform of the entrance and the prismatic sections of the interior of the museum are also very important. As well as these materials, the grass finishes of the inclined platform of the entrance and the prismatic sections of the interior of the museum are also very important.

MUSEUM OF HUMAN EVOLUTION. The centrally located Solar de Caballería accommodates three cultural buildings that together with a building of services and a large car-park become a set of very important features for the city of Burgos.

The museum occupies a central position and its access comes from going up a green mound that places the visitor on an elevated platform at 5.10 meters high from which the near and far urban environment can be enjoyed, liberated from the banks of the river Arlanzón. Outside a pure prism sits behind a structural basket that liberates the interior space, and recreates a large landscape, illuminated homogenously by skylights in the roof, and sectioned in trenches in order to show its rich archaeology. The ramps recreate walks through that summoned nature in the interior of the museum.

The administration areas of the building, situated to the rear of the building, with its offices, meeting rooms, specific studios, services spaces, and loading dock have independent access from Calle Burgense. The distribution allows natural lighting and visual independence due to the partition elements with transparent strips above eye level. In the museum, not only is a mental relation established between the archaeological site of Atapuerca and the actual space of the museum, but also a physical connection is established due to the possibility of transferring to the archaeological site of Atapuerca in bus.

In this rear part of the building, three trays are arranged at different heights interconnected by the open stairs to the trenches, walkways, and the communication core. From the varying heights the temporary exhibition maintains direct visual contact with the memory of Atapuerca.

FORUM EVOLUCION. The volume that houses the Auditorium, Exhibition and Congress Centre subtly turns towards the façade of the cathedral to embrace the green mound which is common to all three buildings.

The space between the Museum and the Fórum is transferred to the city as a pedestrianized street from which you can enjoy from the inside and the outside the activity of the occupants and the passers-by through the glass façade. In this way, the pedestrianzed streets that separate the buildings become uniting and relating elements. The main access is located on the ground floor at the same height as the Paseo Sierra de Atapuerca. From the hall, you can access the communal spaces of shops, toilets, elements of communication, and the spaces of each use.


The volume contains a multipurpose hall for music (symphonic and small operas), ballet, conventions, and audiovisual shows with a capacity of 1400 seats distributed in stalls and an amphitheatre. The access to the stalls occurs at street level in the middle and in the top floor at the back next to the control room and the amphitheatre at the back underneath the upper control room.

In the part in front of the halls, in continuity with the central hall, the spaces of public services and hall access are arranged on different floors are arranged at varying heights.

The service spaces of the auditorium are located at the rear of the building: The loading dock, storerooms, dressing rooms, and other units of service, such as tuning rooms, rehearsal rooms, a canteen, and areas for administration and installations.


The program of the Convention Center starts at ground level with the multi-use smaller hall for (chamber) music, conferences, and audiovisual shows with a capacity of 540 seats which are arranged in stalls with central access from ground level, and rear access at 5.10m, together with the control rooms and below the upper ones. The stage has a depth of 9m, an outer width of 10m, sides of 3.35m, and a free height of 12.60m with an outer height of 7.50m. The depth of the hall from the edge of the stage is 26m. The cloakroom is situated continuously with the central hall in the ground floor. Above the smaller hall, at 13.50m, begins the program of the seminars with movable partitions that allow for different configurations of the space and dining room. In the upper floor, at 17.70m, we arrange 4 classrooms and 2 doubles in the central zone with the most height, alongside with the internal communications hub containing the toilets, the press-room, and administration.


The main access to the three buildings is established at street level. On the ground floor, the central space is reserved to have a piece of the archaeological remains of the old convent of San Pablo found on the site of the Caballería. The varying floors of the exhibition halls are organized around a void illuminate by zenithal lighting, and it is in visual contact with the communal spaces of the varying floors interconnected by an independent nucleus. On the floor with a height of 13.50 meters, the spaces of administration and personnel are attached to the façade with the Calle San Pablo, liberating the views towards the cathedral.


In the part in front of the volume, with access from the platform at 5.10 meters, opens a café from which one can enjoy the views over the river, cathedral, and the pedestrian ramp of access from street level. Over this is the restaurant which is connected to the café, and it has its own access to the street level and the service units that have their own access from the Calle San Pablo.

NATIONAL CENTRE FOR HUMAN EVOLUTION RESEARCH CENIEH The National Centre for Human Evolution Research occupies most of the extended volume towards the East side of the Solar de Caballería, closing the area of the vegetal slope that gives access to the museum. The building responds to the necessity of the creation of a reference centre for research on Human Evolution. The functional program of the CENIEH is organized in this way due to the existence of valuable archaeological and paleontological materials found in the Sierra de Atapuerca and in other archaeological sites. The object of the centre is the conservation and laboratorial analysis of these sites, as well as the development of investigations in four specialized departments. As well as this, the centre must fulfill the functions of the training of new investigators and of the disclosure of the results of the investigations and archaeological findings, for which it has a specialized library and a zone of rooms and conference halls.

A large vertical space opens to the West façade of the CENIEH, connecting all of the floors of the centre with a staircase on each end and making possible a constant visual relation with the Human Evolution Museum. The departments of investigation (Geology, Human Paleobiology, Paleocology, and Prehistoric) are located in the first and fourth floors, in the extreme North of the volume, with views to the river and the city. The distribution of these work spaces respond to the necessity of creating individual work spaces for each investigator that has the department assigned to them. As well as this, each department includes a communal work area for the visiting investigators and fellows from other centers. The laboratories are situated in the floors at 5.10, 9.30, and 13.50 meters in height in the central part of the volume, between the two nucleuses of vertical communication. They have been arranged in a large communal hall and another area more compartmentalized (up to four offices) for technical or laboratories, to isolate them due to security conditions. The interior divisions in both departments, like in the laboratories, will be made of glass from eye level to not compromise the independence required by the investigation, and to permit the entrance of natural light to all of them.

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