Situated on the Los Llanos waterfront of Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, between the Marine Park and the edge of the port, the auditorium connects the city to the ocean and creates a significant urban landmark. The all-concrete building is characterized by the dramatic sweep of its roof. Rising off the base like a crashing wave, the roof soars to a height of 58 meters over the main auditorium before curving downward and narrowing to a point. The building’s plinth forms a public plaza covering the site and allows for changes in grade between the different levels of the adjacent roads.
The complex contains a 1800-seat auditorium and a 400-seat chamber music hall. The chamber music hall, technical facilities, general services and dressing rooms are located within the stepped plinth, which is clad in the local ‘basalt’ volcanic rock.
Wide arches, spanning 50 meters on each side, serve as the artists’ entrance. The main public access to the auditorium is placed on the raised plaza to the northeast, beneath the curved and sculpted concrete shell of the roof. Although administrative and service areas as well as the central auditorium are air-conditioned, public foyers and circulation areas profit from the island’s pleasant climate; as it is naturally ventilated, air flow through the glazed areas beneath and between the building’s concrete shells.
To fine tune the acoustics, the wood panelling of the interior takes on a crystalline form, which also contributes to the drama of the space. The placing of sound reflectors was determined by laser tests, which also helped define the dimensions of the vaulted interior. Instead of having stage curtains, the auditorium is provided with a concertina screen of vertical aluminium slats, which when opened, lift up into the auditorium to act as a sound-reflector above the orchestra pit.
Geometrically, the roof is constructed from two intersecting cone segments. By contrast, the symmetrical inner shell of the concert hall, which is 50-meter high, is a rotational body, generated by rotating a curve to describe an ellipse. A wedge of approximately 15 degrees has been removed from the center of this body so that its two segments for acoustical reasons at a thickness of 60 centimeters, form a pronounced ridge. At its uppermost point it supports the sweep of the roof. The body of the auditorium thus contrasts with the smooth curves of the flanking tangential shells, whose exterior surfaces are decorated in coloured broken tile.