Cantabrian Maritime Museum

Cantabrian Maritime Museum


The Cantabrian Maritime Museum building is located on Severiano Ballesteros Street in Santander. The original project, designed by Vicente Roig Forner and Ángel Hernández Morales and built between 1975 and 1978, was conceived as part of an architectural ensemble, together with the Oceanographic Centre. Two 26 meters side square floor plan and a concrete structure and façade are joined by a canopy and separated by a central space for public access.

The interior of the museum was organised on 3 floors around a large central courtyard covered by a vault of paraboloid membranes with 8 supporting points. The light enters through the windows located between the membrane and the floor of the terrace. This structure also served to shade the terrace area and to collect water.

In 2003 the building was renovated and extended. Among other things, the extension of the west façade of the whole volume was carried out. On the roof, the original was maintained, but it was covered with a pyramidal aluminum structure that enclosed the existing terrace. After this renovation, the initial conception of the building was altered.

Our work focuses on the second floor, which is used as a restaurant and rooftop of the building. The main goal was the recovery of the essence and original elements of the building, mainly the concrete paraboloids membrane. In a first phase it was decided to recover the original roof, with the traditional water collection. However, this was not possible because the previous intervention carried out on the building made this solution impossible. Finally, three main interventions were chosen: replacing the pyramidal roof with a new one that makes the building watertight and insulated; replacing the fachade with a curtain wall that enhances maintenance and recovers part of the perimeter terrace; recovering the essence of the original paraboloids, eliminating paint treatments and revealing their raw side, in which we can appreciate the original status.

The concrete paraboloids thus become a recovered element and the protagonist of the restaurant’s interior. Treated as an artistic element, it is framed by a false ceiling behind which all the installations are concealed.

The rest of the materials used are: oak wood for false ceilings with slats and custom made furniture, large-format porcelain stoneware in a gray colour for the floor and natural-coloured aluminium for the curtain wall, luminaires and details. The custom made furniture and lighting elements are inspired by traditional nautical aesthetics.

The enclosure of the restaurant seeks maximum transparency due to the views and the light entrance. In addition, this type of enclosure is resistant, bearing in mind that we are just a few metres from the sea and the great exposure to the wind and the marine environment. A natural aluminium finish was chosen to blend in with the rest of the materials and not detract from the rest of the elements. This curtain wall has openings at strategic points to create an inside-outside effect and to be able to enjoy the small corridor that borders the restaurant and opens onto the bay of Santander.

Photography: David Zarzoso