Work space & Playground in the CCE in MalaboPublic Space
The Cultural Center of Spain (CCE) in Malabo is one of the reference places of the capital of Equatorial Guinea. In addition to the programmed activities, the CCE has an outdoor space where everyday theater companies, choirs, dance groups and students conduct their own activities. The use of this space is really intensive, and each one tries to adapt their necessities to the furniture, lighting and shade available. With a remarkable sensitivity, the CCE is gradually improving its space to promote this kind of uses in the center, increasing the number of blackboards or improving the lighting conditions.
A few days before finishing the project Self-made playground in Malabo, a peculiar situation arised in the CCE: the Spanish Embassy (right next to the CCE) was dismantling some old pavilions and there was the possibility of using the materials. The CCE saw this situation as an unique opportunity to use those materials to improve the conditions of its outer space and invited us to stay a few days more in the city to design and build two elements, one for studing and one for the children.
The CCE had clearly identified needs: a work space that ideally would allow other uses, a playground for the children (since there was nothing in the center for children) and a set of chairs and tables that, being movable, didn’t wander too much around the extension of the center.
We had mainly the metal structure from the Spanish Embassy, a precast system patented by the company Dragados called Caracola system. Courously, the name of this patent had named the entire neighborhood, Caracola neighborhood. In addition we had leftover materials from the playground project, mainly leftover and pallets that we hadn’t used in the previous project.
Barely in one day and a half, while workmen were dismantling the structure, we designed the interventions from the possibilities offered by the three elements that made up the patent: 100x100mm supports, trusses made of square tube and 80x40mm straps.
The studio space was solved with a simple rectangular surface in which the only modification of the structure was to shorten the trusses to reduce its length, too long for the place where the object should go. On that space we generate a roof, designed and made with the steel belts that subsequently was covered with nipa (a kind of local vegetable roof system). The most interesting element of this intervention are the blackboards, designed to be able folded and stored in the ceiling, freeing up the space for other uses. Finally it was installed a lighting system made with jerrycans, an object widely used throughout Africa.
The playground area was simpler even: three parallel trusses previously shortened and raised by six bases, and between the trusses, different elements for playing, includin a goal.
The structure, originally red colored, was painted in two tone of green: a darker one for the original structure, similar to the tones of the surrounding vegetation and a brighter green for the elements that we added. The idea was to mimic the interventions with their surroundings, but giving proof of the intervention on materials that already had 30 years of memory.
For the furniture we used the wasted teak wood and the pallets as surface while fot the structure we chose to build a thin metal structure. The natural density of the teak in the case of banks, and the weight of the surfaces designed with the pallets in the case of the tables, fullfilled the premise that the furniture was only averagely mobile.