Theatre and congress centre La Llotja, Spain

Lleida, the second major city of Catalonia, Spain, selected Mecanoo architects among seven top international architects as winner of an international competition for the design of La Llotja theatre and congress centre. The Mecanoo team included Deerns as consultant for installations and eco consultancy

The judges’ decision was unanimous. The design was praised for its urban planning concept, clear logistics, ecological sustainability, and its imaginative power. The complex – which looks like a suspended, sandstone monolith arising out of the Spanish earth, lies in the heart of the city on the banks of the river Segre. It includes two conference halls (1200 and 400 seats, the largest of which will also serve as a theatre), a multifunctional area, a lounge and a restaurant. Besides the centre, the design also includes two apartment buildings and the expansion of an existing office building, thus reaching a total of 50,000 m2. La Llotja will become the logo of the historical city Lérida and is to provide a positive impulse for the district behind it.

The design is based on the ‘shelter and shadow’ concept: shelter from winter rains and shade from the sun during the long, hot summers. The sun also plays a major role in the exceptional energy concept Deerns has designed for La Llotja. Concrete core ties are part of the climate concept, while the walls will also absorb heat. Solar energy will provide for both heating and cooling. The jewel in the crown will be an enormous planted roof garden with various functions:

  • A shady outdoor area for conference participant with a view over the city
  • Plant and their seasonal floral splendour will reduce heat in the hot season and give the surrounding apartments an attractive view 
  • Solar panels will absorb heat throughout the year, and will be used for heating and cooling.