The Building

Volcanoes are imposing, spectacular geological structures. The volcanoes of Olot now lie, hidden by the course of geological history, under a dense layer of vegetation and human activities carried out in the region of La Garrotxa.

The Espai Cràter building is not intended to pretend to be a small volcano in itself, but rather an underground exhibition room within a volcano: the ancient, little-known Puig del Roser volcano that lies beneath the bullring of Olot. Entering this area is a surprising experience as access is provided through a crack in the ground, one that traces a path that goes into the earth and leads visitors into the heart of the volcano. Visitors can enter the volcano through this crack and to discover an amazing story, and one of fascinating facts.The Espai Cràter building is a tour: the users will be the visitors and the volcano, the host.

The structured division of volumes inside responds to a desire to create differentiated spaces for users. In the museum room visitors can see and touch the volcanic lapilli, in the bowels of the volcano itself. The auditorium, the classroom and the mezzanine areas can be connected and disconnected from each other through the lobby, depending on the route and the activity programmed for the visitors.

On the upper surface only a grove with beeches and oaks is seen. The raised ground gives the appearance that a telluric force has deformed the natural relief, forming a mound, as if an air bubble had been captured by the volcano. The building exudes geology and volcanism due to the materials it is made from and the geometry of the walls and claddings. Several walls and skylights are tilted, as if a sudden movement of the ground had displaced them from their original location. The building forms part of the visitor experience, one that should be relaxed and enriching, yet which is also striking and disturbing.

In the park, at dark, tree lanterns illuminate the woods with lights that are arranged like fireflies dancing in the dark. The light inside the centre, which illuminates the red crack, shows an access to the Espai Cràter. The skylights, which bring light to the interior during the day, reverse their function at night and are transformed into lights that illuminate the forest.

The building is a crack of colour and light in a forest; a path of fire.

Toni Casamor i Anna Codina
VOL Studio Architecture