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CECCoN - Centro de Eventos, Congresos y Convenciones de la Provincia de Neuquén

Bares, Bares, Bares, Schnack: Estudio de Arquitectura

Neuquén, North Patagonia - Neuquén, Argentina

May 2023


Nicolas D. Bares (Project Director), Marcelo E. Schmit (Design Director)



Julieta Corroza (Minister of Culture, Province of Neuquén)


Maju Franzan, Mauro Ramirez


The 5.000 sqm North Patagonia Convention Center is destined for a wide variety of activities. Its singular shape and translucent tectonic becomes an architectural icon as well as central piece in the development of the island.
The building volume presents a complex geometry that is expressed as a single building. The idea of an opaque and solid plinth that surrounds the entire building housing the service functions and equipment, contrasts with the translucent envelope that expresses the lightness of the public and exhibition/convention areas.
It lights up at night allowing the CECCoN to transform into a luminous beacon within the Island.
The functional scheme is organized with the Hall as an integrating space around which the large rooms are located: the Exhibition Hall (a flexible space of 37.50 m x 20.40 m, which can be subdivided into three equal rooms mobile acoustic walls); and the Convention and Conference Room (a flexible space of 18.45 m x 33.10 m can also be subdivided two rooms).
These spaces are embraced by the service and support sector. On the west side to toilets and the cloakroom are situated. On top of this area a cafeteria is located, with direct connection with an exterior terrace.
And on the east side, in direct relation to the rooms, the warehouse, the kitchen, the dressing rooms (with direct access to the conference room), the press room, the staff changing rooms and with direct access from the outside to the engine room and technical areas are located.


The CECCoN located in Neuquén, Patagonia, Argentina. A geography defined by a dry plateau and fertile river valleys cities are located. These cities are surrounded by agricultural belts and their economy, and their culture are defined by this relationship with the land.
The region is rapidly changing due to the oil and gas industry booming in “Vaca Muerta” that has become world’s second largest gas reserves.
As a result of this boom, a previously scarcely populated province, is experiencing an intense migration, with over 30% population growth.
This process creates an environmental stress to the territory and the City, with a lack of, housing, schools, hospitals and cultural institutions and public spaces.
Encompassing the environmental and urban problems, social conflicts arise as well. The chaotic urban sprawl and a population shortly arrived from all over the county and abroad does not contribute to the consolidation of strong communal tights nor the creation of cultural identity.
With this complex context in mind the government developed a 52-hectares natural Island in the Limay river, as a metropolitan park linked to a coastal promenade. The park provides a central location for the CECCoN, strategically located as the anchor piece.
The new building with its facilities as well as the immediate surroundings intended for open air concerts and festivals provides the whole region with a new reference both in terms of new activities and public spaces as well as an icon, a reference to identify the park, the city and the whole Patagonian region.


The challenge of the project was to create a powerful and distinctive building with an extremely low budget according to a public building in Argentina.
With that goal the building design incorporates the materials and construction methods traditionally applied in regional fruit processing plants.
That decision had three benefits, on the one hand it allows a project to be built within budget and the second one was to produce a building with methods and material greatly tested for the environmental conditions of the region.
The third on one was given by the low maintenance for a public building and the accessibility to particular materials in the local market in case replacement was necessary.
The large volumes of the Hall, Exhibition Hall, Conference Room and Office Areas will be materialized through the use of dry construction technologies with walls and ceilings made of metal structure and composite sheet metal panels. This unique architectural element that surrounds the entire upper level of the building will be covered with a ventilated façade of a metal structure covered with translucent material (sinusoidal white polycarbonate sheets), which through its lighting both inside and outside the building It will give a white image during the day and an illuminated headlight at night.
The industrial tectonics of the exterior contrast with the spatial and material development of the interiors with the wooden ceiling and the local stones floor. This design gives it dynamism, warmth, and connection with the identity of the mountains and wood, Patagonia’s main attributes.

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