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What A Pearl: Low-Cost, Iridescent Music Center Opens In Spain

Spanish architecture studio Cor & Asociados has shared with us its latest project: a music and cultural center in southeastern Spain that, from some vantage points, looks like a giant opal tucked into the hillside.

MUCA was designed to be what the architects call a “low-cost landmark” for the tiny, 2,000-person village of Algueña. And they’re not kidding about the low-cost part: The budget was just 562,800 euros, or about $775,000. (Contrast that to the $100 million-plus price tag of some other, albeit much larger, cultural buildings in the works.) So Cor’s strategy was to repurpose an existing structure–a sturdy, if not particularly pretty, old gendarmerie building that had been abandoned since then 1980s–then pack the big thrills into the facade of a new 3,800-square-foot addition.

The addition, an auditorium, is covered top to bottom in ceramic tiles. Each tile was fired three times to adopt an iridescent sheen, and together, the tiles throw around light in all sorts of lovely, unpredictable ways. Sometimes they resemble fish scales; other times, they reflect the sky and appear light blue or, if it’s a cloudy day, milky-gray. It’s like having a dozen different facades in one. Not bad for less than $1 million, eh?

[Images courtesy of Cor]

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