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Restaurant MMC: A Unique Blend of Brutalism and Sea Views in Santander

Restaurant MMC, Santander, ES / Zooco Estudio

Architecture practice Zooco Estudio proudly presents its most recent achievement – the restaurant at the Cantabrian Maritime Museum in Santander, Spain. Situated on Severiano Ballesteros Street, this newly unveiled dining area is a remarkable addition to the architectural complex, which also features the Oceanographic Center designed by Vicente Roig Forner and Ángel Hernández Morales back in the late 70s.

The original structure of the building comprises of two square sections joined by a canopy, featuring a concrete framework. The interior is spread across three levels surrounding a central courtyard, covered by a vault made of paraboloid membranes.

Restaurant MMC, Santander, ES / Zooco Estudio

In 2003, a renovation and expansion project was undertaken, which involved extending the west-facing facade and the terrace roof with a pyramidal aluminum structure. As a result, the initial design of the building was altered.

Restaurant MMC, Santander, ES / Zooco Estudio

As part of the project, a new area was added on the second floor of the museum to accommodate a restaurant and terrace. This required the creation of a new volume, which addressed the existing issues with the roof and facade of the building.

Restaurant MMC, Santander, ES / Zooco Estudio

The square shape of this structure is achieved by incorporating four triangles that not only regularize and enhance the paraboloids of the original building, but also draw attention to the interior where the rawness of these concrete paraboloids takes center stage.

Restaurant MMC, Santander, ES / Zooco Estudio

In a way, the geometry of the structure becomes a preserved element, a reminder of the past, and the focal point within the restaurant’s interior. The triangular wooden false ceilings further accentuate this artistic element.

Restaurant MMC, Santander, ES / Zooco Estudio

On the outside, the building features a glass enclosure that prioritizes transparency, with the option of textile curtains to provide subtle shading depending on the orientation. This design choice allows for unobstructed views of the breathtaking Bay of Santander, creating a sense of being immersed in the vastness of the sea.

Image courtesy of David Zarzoso