Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age

Architecturally Speaking, Modern Can Be Good Too


Next week I’ve allowed myself a treat. The Moscow City Ballet comes to Tenerife, and I haven’t been to the ballet in about 12 or 13 years, the last winter I spent in England. Since the Auditorio in Santa Cruz opened in 2003 there has been the odd classical ballet performance, but, frustratingly, never at a time when I could go. So, that this is being performed not only in the culturally more sophisticated north, but also for one performance in the south is big news for lovers of classical ballet. For a very, very brief period in my childhood I dreamed of being a ballerina, but even at the tender age I was, it didn’t take much for me to realize that, even had my father agreed to the lessons for which I begged, there was a distinct lack of talent, not to mention grace. Still, for years I enjoyed watching other people perform. Of all ballets, they have chosen Swan Lake for this historic event, and I can’t even remember the last time I saw that, still, more about the ballet next week, after I’ve seen it.

The other day I went to collect the tickets, and took the opportunity to walk around the Magma Center, where it’s being performed. I attended a weekend workshop with La Cruz Roja there a couple of years ago, and it was only looking at the snaps we’d taken of the weekend afterwards, that I realized what a good-looking building it was. Normally, here you’ll find me singing the praises of tumble-down or renovated old buildings, and sighing over “what character they have”, but just for a change I offer you some snaps of the Magma Center, which is bang up-to-date modern design in a town which offers very little (if anything else) in the way of attractive architecture.

The Center, designed by a team of three architects Fernando Martin Menis, Felipe Artengo Rufino and José Maria Rodriguez Pastrana, was finished in 2005, to far less fanfare than the famous Opera House of Santa Cruz. Walking around, I found it easy to fall into sympathy with their vision. Unlike the stunning Auditorio, which looks like a giant wave cascading over a harbour wall, this building echoes not only the ocean, which lies like sparkling sapphire, visible from the front terrace, but also the rough and evocative, volcanic landscape which comprises much of the island. It is made mainly from concrete, but mirrors south Tenerife perfectly, that contrast between earth and ocean which lends such drama to the island.

Including the aforementioned workshop, this was only the second time I’d visited the building, and really I only took a couple of steps inside to pay for the tickets. The thing I remember vividly from my first visit was the way interior walls can be moved around to create spaces suited to the client’s needs, because it is what is described online as a multi-functional building, not only theater, but conference center, sports venue, exhibition center and more. I’m no way knowledgeable about architecture, and that concept was new and novel to me. Our needs that weekend were for conference rooms, space for practical activities, and a formal lunch, which I remember being extremely well-catered (not a big fan of en masse catering here!). Clearly, the ballet will require a theater, and it will be interesting to see how the space has been adapted. Watch this space – but in the meantime I am reminded that it isn’t only the old architecture which makes this island appealing.


Author: IslandMomma

Exploring island life and the freedoms of Third Age: Challenging myself every day: writing, traveling, snapping pix, running & teaching ESL

9 thoughts on “Architecturally Speaking, Modern Can Be Good Too

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Architecturally Speaking, Modern Can Be Good Too « Islandmomma --

  2. This building has a very similar ‘feel’ to one with a different use – The Imperial War Museum North, on Salford Keys, across from The Lowry and also now the big new media city, where BBC depts and other media are going to relocate.
    IWMN is Daniel Leibskind building (he of the New York replacement to the twin towers) try to find it on the internet and you will see what I mean. George was heavily involved in the construction and the struggles that came with a challenging design being put into actual flesh and bones (well concrete and steel).
    Enjoy the ballet, lovely to wallow in the beautiful music and the familiar stories.

  3. Mmmm. I can see why you say that. I know nothing about architecture, but am thinking there is a common element, a style. In the bumf it says that Leibskind’s budget was reduced from 40k to 28.5k and he had to abandon the original concrete design and go with more metal, otherwise the likeness would have been more evident, at least judging from photos. I love the way that metal “tower” is reflected on the canal, though. I think that worked out for the best for him!

    I’ve been to the one in London, back when the boys were fairly young, and we loved it. I imagine with all the interactive stuff one finds in museums these days it is even better, easier to think yourself back into the past!

    I have this idea to spend October in UK, just revisiting old haunts more or less, seeing how they have changed. I lived in Manchester for about 2/3 years, over different periods. And obviously Blackpool – so hopefully we will get to meet up at last!

    • that would be good – I’m not around the first week – in USA from mid Sept for 3 weeks. All purely in the mind for you as yet I think? but that is where these things start as a little seed eh?
      Manchester is probably unrecognisable from the city you knew. Some amazing modern buildings plus things like the John Rylands has been done up and opened to the public.

  4. Cool. My intention is to go to Scotland first anyways, and then work my way down. Guy is running the Snowdonia Marathon which I think is the last weekend of October, so it will probably be just before that, and you will be back, hopefully. OMG you’ll be going to NC——–Fall there is SO pretty, but later than Northern Europe.

    Last lived in Manchester 1980, but have been back for various things, Eric Clapton concert, lunch with friends there, shopping in Kendals (is that right, not sure of name now) so not much time to mooch around. Must look up what’s on!

  5. The IWMN is an amazing building – not only visually, but in the way exhibits are presented.

    I defy anyone to go and not shed a tear. On one visit a friend discovered what had happened to a relative who had gone missing in action during World War.

    On another, as we walked around the exhibits the lights dimmed save for a spotlight on a lone soldier dressed in British WW1 uniform who sang an old anti war song (Wilfred Owen I think). It was such a powerful moment that it completely choked me and everyone around me .

    I’ve never been to a museum quite like it.

    • My god that sounds amazing. I think it was around 1991 when we went to the museum in London, and we were awed by the “trench experience” and being able to sit in a “basement” and listen to the sounds of the Blitz as if it was going on outside. Now I am really stoked to go! I so wanted to see the Don McCullin exhibition there earlier this year, but my time was so limited and I didn’t want to rush. Now I’m glad I didn’t try to go, because that plus the place itself would have been a total frustration – it was a case of filling 2 or 3 hours between flights. Definitely on my list for October now!

  6. hmmm. was kind of leaving you to have that mind blowing experience without prior knowledge!!!
    it is quite unlike any other museum I know for the way you are shown the ‘films’. the themes and films change constantly so you always come across something new. my last visit was more poignant than usual as it was a POW exhibition. my dad spent several years in a Stalag and so I spent most of that visit a dithering wreck BUT still needing to see it. the chance to listen to oral memories of POW’s if you could stand it. one man told of arriving at a camp and a chap shouted out through the fence to come to hut such and such number after processing. when he got there he was given a warm welcome and a cup of tea and a biscuit (you must realise both these were a rare commodity) and saying it was the best cup of tea he ever had in his life! well – that was me done for. the view from the cafe is spectacular – across the water to the Lowry and Media city.

  7. oops should have done a paragraph at the end of that!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s