Cardboard cover for CaixaForum auditorium

Large-Scale Sustainable Parametric Design

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Final client:

CaixaForum Valencia


Cardboard cover for the CaixaForum auditorium (Valencia)


Project author:

Enric Ruiz-Geli (Cloud 9)

Mila Moskalenko (Cloud 9)


Associate study:

Javier Peña (Xpiral Architecture)

Design and production


Also Loncán

Sergio Morales

Pablo García Mora


Cartonlab production:

Hector Lopez

alvaro motorcycles

Juanjo Alcazar


Cutthings (Belgium) Fireproofed

Tft-verpackungen.com (Germany) Cardboard tubes


San Javier Marbles


Romu Lopez, Jose Hevia

The cardboard envelope of the auditorium roof with the building in the background is already one of the iconic photos of CaixaForum. Photo: Jose Hevia

A great architecture project to revitalize a large space

The launch of the new CaixaForum Valencia is an architectural and cultural event. The project was born when Enric Ruiz-Geli and his studio Cloud 9 won the ideas competition to revitalize Calatrava’s Ágora building, inaugurated in 2009 and barely used since then. The result has been a large and renovated space that houses exhibition halls, a restaurant, a bookstore, a vertical garden and an auditorium for 300 people for which we have made the extensive cardboard roof. A team work led by Cloud 9, (Enric Ruiz-Geli) and Xpiral Arquitectura (Javier Peña Galiano) and Cartonlab

Unique polygonal pieces for a great modular puzzle

The design work with the Xpiral team started from an initial prototype produced in our studio. Through parametric variations, we were generating the design of the entire shell. The intervention extends over an area of warped roof surface of almost 400m2. We used 189 polygonal modules, all different, with a base of about 2 m and variable height. In total more than 1000 unique pieces, numbered, ordered and with a specific predefined position.

Production and assembly adapted to margins

The access to the VIP area above the auditorium and the fire safety corridors marked the physical limits of the shell. The pieces were fireproofed in Belgium and certified to comply with the regulations.

It was produced with millimeter precision, cutting the cardboard with a CNC machine. However, when assembling on a large scale, there are usually certain margins of error in the trades involved. To compensate for this, we opted to install the final parts of each block and the areas of the exutories in a final phase. In this way, everything ended up fitting together perfectly.

The color used to combine with the kraft was selected from a wide range of ochre tones by the renowned artist Frederic Amat, who was in charge of the interior installation suspended over the auditorium’s stalls. The pieces by Inma Femenía and Anna Talens complete the permanent art installations section.

Nacho Bautista, surrounded by Ruiz-Geli, Frederic Amat, Antoni Cumella and Javier Peña, explaining the work of Cartonlab. Photo: Romu López

The choral work of many creative minds

The construction of CaixaForum Valencia is the result of a combination of creative minds, traditional trades and technology. The list includes Cumella’s ceramics, Ignacio Solano’s vertical garden, Nagami’s 3D printing and KLH’s wooden structures. The details were explained in an act of presentation and highlighting of the work of each of the parties involved. Nacho Bautista, CEO of Cartonlab, was in charge of explaining the advantages of cardboard design and its contribution to the common project.

An award-winning project with wide coverage

The technical and aesthetic characteristics of this project have generated a lot of interest, which has helped a lot with its diffusion. In addition to appearing in many media, Grupo Lavinia has also filmed a complete documentary about the creation process. ‘CaixaForum València. El sueño dentro del sueño’ can be seen in its entirety on the free platform CaixaForum +. Here, we explain the details of our participation.

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