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// GAZ Arquitectos


The new Higher School of Music of the Basque Country, Musikene, is a Aitor Gurtubay, Asier Atxurra y Unai Zelaieta (GAZ Arquitectos) project. Located on the UPV university campus in the Donostia district of Ibaeta, it is a building of more than 13,000 m² that manages to respond to the specific needs of use and representativeness of this educational institution.

Musikene is configured as a resounding dark volume that, when carved, reveals a bright and luminous interior projected onto Donostia, a city which is very identified with music, culture and education. This sculpted building arises from responding to a dense and compartmentalized needs programme in a restrcited plot, forcing it to have the maximum volume allowed by municipal regulations and stretching the façade surface to the maximum. In such a way that each and every one of the slots it houses are illuminated.

Three large incisions carve the compact piece through clean and straight cuts that, acting as noise barriers, show the interior brightness of the building to the city.

Gurtubay, Atxurra and Zelaieta enhanced the contrast between façades using materials that evoke the finish of musical instruments. They opted for a smooth glossy black powder coated slab for the exterior skin of the building. On the other hand, in the patios, the slab is golden and wraps around the spans in the façade as perforated and stamped aluminium sheets that shade and reflect sunlight.

The building surrounds a valuable room inside: the auditorium. Located on the ground floor and clad in gold panels, it is the heart of the project. It has a capacity for 420 people and was designed with a multifunctional projection, being able to conceal the seats to turn it into a large event room. In addition, it can also be divided using acoustic curtains that allow creating three independent spaces for rehearsals, chamber orchestra and choirs.

The auditorium extends to the first floor where the library-media library and administrative offices are located. On the second level are the teachers' offices, while on the third and fourth floors the teaching is carried out, with multiple fully soundproofed rehearsal rooms.


Taking into account the use specificity of the building, one of the most important aspects to be worked on was sound insulation, seeking constructive solutions that would prevent the transfer of noise to the exterior and interior. Especially important are, in this case, the windows, one of the weakest elements of a façade in acoustic terms. To solve this problem, CORTIZO's architecture and engineering department collaborated with GAZ Arquitectos, making the necessary measurements and estimates that would lead to the best enclosure solution. After the calculations made, COR URBAN windows were installed, a 122 mm hidden double-sash system with quadruple joint and 4 panels that offers noise attenuation of up to 50 dB, especially suitable for buildings located in areas with high acoustic activity. Regarding the finish, we chose black lacquer for the exterior, in line with the aesthetics of the façade, and white for the interior, following the minimalist style of the spaces. Therefore combining design and excellent performance in a single solution.


Los sistemas de aluminio para la arquitectura de CORTIZO también están presentes en otros espacios del Musikene como el vestíbulo, que se proyecta al exterior a través del muro cortina TP 52, una solución que facilita la entrada de luz y asegura el máximo confort gracias a sus excelentes prestaciones térmicas y acústicas. Además, en los accesos se instaló la puerta peatonal coplanaria Millennium Plus, un sistema con 70 mm de profundidad de marco y un valor de transmitancia Uw desde solo 0,9 W/m²K, posibilitado por una gran zona de rotura de puente térmico con varillas de poliamida de 24 mm. Esta puerta presenta una capacidad de acristalamiento de hasta 54 mm que refuerza sus niveles de aislamiento y de protección frente al ruido. Todas estas características están refrendadas por los excelentes resultados obtenidos en los bancos de ensayos: Clase 5 (máxima resistencia al impacto de cuerpo blando), un millón de ciclos (resistencia a aperturas y cierres repetidos), Clase 4 (permeabilidad al aire), Clase 6A (estanqueidad al agua) y Clase C4 (resistencia al viento).


The Musikene has just celebrated its first anniversary and is already one of the most recognized projects in recent architecture in the Basque Country. In fact, last year, it was awarded at the COAVN Architecture Awards for achieving "the urban fit of the building and its implantation in the environment, maintaining subtlety in the language used and, at the same time, capable of organizing its programmatic and technical complexity ”.

GAZ Arquitectos


GAZ Arquitectos was created in Bilbao in early 2000 by Aitor Gurtubay, Asier Atxurra de Blas and Unai Zelaieta Garate. During all these years of professional practice, they have carried out multiple projects and works for all kinds of uses: residential, cultural, sports, educational, health, urban planning and design. In addition to Musikene, they have a wide list of projects, among which the Ikastolas de Altzaga and Gorliz, the Civic Centres of Aperribai and Orduña, the IES Zaraobe (Amurrio), CEP Luzaro (Deba), the Zierbena Sports Centre, Decentralization offices in Usanoslo and various housing developments. In 2016, they separated their paths, originating two new studios: Gurtubay Arquitectos and AtxurraZelaieta Arquitectos.


PROJECT: Musikene. Higher School of Music of the Basque Country
LOCATION: Donostia-San Sebastián (Gipuzcoa)
ARCHITECT: GAZ Arquitectos. Aitor Guturbay (GA+Arquitectos), Asier Atxurra y Unai Zelaieta (Atxurrazelaieta Arquitectos)
CORTIZO SYSTEMS: COR Urban, TP 52 Façade, Millennium Plus Door
INSTALLER: Carpintería metálica Marla
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jorge Allende