This is one of the biggest buildings of the city of Donostia-San Sebastián, with over a century of history. The building was a cigarette factory for 90 years, and then was restructured as the International Center of Modern Culture. It is a mega project which arrives with perfect timing, along with the European Cultural City Status of 2016.
In 1913 the state tobacco factory was opened in Donostia. It had 26 thousand square meters and at one point over one thousand people worked there at the same time, mostly women. It was active for 90 years, until Altadis, the new company in charge, decided to close it due to the privatization of the tobacco industry.
This is when the second life of this magnificent building started, which is currently the International Center of Modern Culture. It is also a production center, which supports the professionalization of artists and makers, but it is also open to every citizen and visitor, with upbeat public programming.
The size of the building has increased since its original 26 thousand square meters to the current 37 thousand. The project that was followed for its evolution, not transformation, has been project “3 en Raya” [3 in Line], from Jon and Naiara Montero. The facade has remained the same, and the changes have been made to the interior, where the visitors will enjoy a great inner street where they can walk freely, and a glass prism which gives more visibility.
Clearly, this isn’t just an architectural project, and in order for it to be as useful as possible to its new cultural function, a whole cultural ecosystem has been created in its interior with the arrival of different institutions. The International Film Festival, the Etxepare Institute or the Basque Film Collection, to name a few.