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13 May 2022
The proposal “Olatuen bidea- Camino de las Olas” by the Danish architecture studio BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has been declared winner of the international tender organized by Basque Culinary Center for the construction the GOe – Gastronomy Open Ecosystem building in Donostia-San Sebastián. This space will embody the fusion between gastronomy, talent, science, innovation, entrepreneurship and the city.
The extremely high quality of all the projects presented sparked intense deliberation among the jury. A decision was finally reached and this particular project was chosen for its unique architectural qualities, its organic integration into the surroundings, and because it improves surrounding public spaces by endowing them with their own activity and character, thus generating new spaces for the community to interact and forge relationships. BIG’s design clearly reflects GOe's mission to innovate and explore the limits of gastronomy with the goal of collaboratively paving the path forward for gastronomy.
Inspired by the essence of GOe, BIG has designed a new type of building: a metaphor symbolizing how gastronomy research, innovation and entrepreneurship grows out of the land, a space rooted in the city and nourished by its history and traditions. This building will intertwine the relationships between talent, creation and knowledge. It aims to serve as a gathering place for the community by offering new settings for social life, culture, research and gastronomy.
Olatuen bidea - Camino de las Olas
The “Olatuen bidea -Camino de las Olas” project, named for its unique exterior silhouette, has been selected based on its organic integration into the environment, its sustainability, and its versatile spaces and functionality. This building will be able to adapt to the changing needs that coexist in GOe.
Designed to host research, innovation, experimentation, entrepreneurship and postgraduate educational activities in the far-reaching industry of gastronomy, GOe will bring together a unique concentration of talent. The building also features sustainability and landscaping as core values. “We have had the great pleasure of collaborating with one of the most brilliant minds in modern gastronomy with our design for Rene Redzepi’s NOMA in our native Copenhagen. We are more than excited to take our architectural exploration of the world of gastronomy to the next level with the work for GOE - Gastronomy Open Ecosystem of Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian. Conceived as an architectural extension of the dramatic landscape and cityscape of San Sebastian, our proposed design liberates the ground and provides parks on the roof to invite the public life of the city to engage with the art and science of gastronomy. Located on the heralded Camino de Santiago de Compostela – we believe that this architectural fusion of gastronomy and technology, city and landscape, building and park has the potential to become a destination in its own right for culinary pilgrims from around the world.” said Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.
The building will be located in the Gros neighborhood on terrain with a slope; this feature will be used to shape the construction, as is the case of the Basque Culinary Center headquarters. The GOe building will create a new public square that will function as a gathering place where gastronomy and the city can come together and interact. In addition, the building’s waves will create open terraces connecting the building’s indoor activity with the public outside. This structure will facilitate dialogue with the city by providing spaces that enrich the surrounding urban environment.
The entrance design, division of areas according to floor, multi-purpose auditorium-grandstand, and exhibition space, which will be the backbone of GOe's activity, unite and organize the different fields, while also fostering interaction among the various components comprising “Olatuen bidea -Camino de las Olas”.
One of the most outstanding characteristics of this proposal is its ability to comprehensively integrate the building into its natural and cultural environment, respecting the context of the city and incorporating the region's characteristic building materials. For example, the geometry and materials that give shape to the structure reference the Camino de Santiago, Eduardo Chillida’s famous sculptures in Donostia, and flysh rock formations.
Likewise, the landscaped roof will act as an extension of the city’s surrounding mountains; while the various terraces maintain the park-like feeling of the plot. The creation, location, and dimensions of the new square planned for Navarra Avenue will provide a space for interacting with the city.
Another essential element of this construction, and the backbone of the building connecting the various spaces, will be a symbolic market place on the square that illustrates the farm to table ideology. Local products will be featured here and then put to innovative use in the kitchens, classrooms and showcase laboratories throughout the building, and then finally served at the restaurant. “Starting from the modularity of an optimal kitchen, we configured the new GOe and its public and private programmes as a grid – the facade is carried to the roof extending the landscape and the buildings many public spaces and exterior programs in a continuous motion. Gently waving up from the ground, GOe will be a good neighbour and citizen in Donostia - San Sebastian, offering a window into global gastronomic discovery while creating new public spaces, plazas, parks, and miradors,” said João Albuquerque, Partner, BIG Barcelona.
The GOe building was also designed with an innovative mindset that prioritizes the versatility of each space and allows for total flexibility and maximum modularity in terms of configuration. Any room will be able to be transformed by using moveable furniture in kitchens, laboratories and even the prototyping area. The implementation phase must be completed within about 9 months, after which construction will begin: the predicted start date is March 2023. Construction is estimated to be finalized by the end of 2024. There are also plans to involve local creative professionals and integrate their participation into the development of the building.