An underground leisure lair for dinosaurs?! Not quite, but Teruel-Zilla is an underground leisure center inspired by dinosaurs that provides much-needed space for youth in a public square of Teruel, Spain. Designed by Mi5 + PKMN, the leisure center splits the ground open to create a new, varied ground floor plane. The public square used to be home to a under-used market building, but now the youth center has revitalized the square and encourages urban activity.
Teruel-Zilla is a three-story underground leisure and rec center for the youth of Teruel, Spain. The spot was once home to a public market building, but it was becoming obsolete, so the town decided to make way for something more useful. Mi5 + PKMN designed a leisure center to take the place of the market building, but buried it underground in order to create open space in the public square. The landscaped area on the ground floor is a series of stepped planes, ramps and staircases which creates a new urban topology that encourages interaction, activity and community. Burying the center underground protects it from the warm climate and leaves the ground floor for vegetation, thus helping reduce energy use and heat island effect.
The whole dinosaur inspiration thing seems a bit random, unless you know about the remains of a ‘Aragosaurus ischiaticus‘ (a sauropod) found near Teruel in 1987. It was the first dinosaur to be found at the Iberian Peninsula, and since then, the town has become a bit of a tourist attraction. Visitors flock to thematic parks such as Dinópolis to learn more about paleontology and their favorite dino. Continuing with the theme of dinosaurs, Mi5 + PKMN envisioned the underground rec center as a buried Godzilla. The bright red interior and the experimental structure push the boundaries of urban architecture to revitalize the urban fabric and a small city.
Images ©Miguel de Guzmán and Javier de Paz