The architecture of the PLANTA project will be exhibited in Chicago

  • The Ábalos + Sentkiewicz Arquitectos (AS+) architectural firm is responsible for developing the architectural design to be exhibited this September at the second Chicago Architecture Biennial.

  • PLANTA is the benchmark project for the contemporary art and business innovation initiative sponsored by Sorigué and its foundation, located in the company’s industrial complex in Balaguer (Lleida, Spain).

  • The building designed by AS+, which will occupy PLANTA’s central space, is a thermal machine that ties the local climate to the building materials used, in order to achieve full self-sufficiency.

  • This building will host the Sorigué Foundation art collection as well as a set of spaces dedicated to research, knowledge, and innovation.

  • In addition to this central space, PLANTA includes site-specifics with the work of great artists such as William Kentridge, Bill Viola, Chiharu Shiota and Juan Muñoz, among others.


The new architectural design for PLANTA, the project sponsored by Sorigué and the Sorigué Foundation, will be exhibited at the Chicago Architecture Biennial from Friday, September 15 until January 7, 2018. The design was developed by the Ábalos + Sentkiewicz Arquitectos (AS+) architectural firm.

The design combines building and landscape to create what the architects call “a privileged vantage point for observing the processes of material and human transformation of the land; a point overlooking the variety generated landscapes, emerging as a center for interpreting those processes, and of course, a space hosting an exceptional collection of contemporary art.”

This construction fuses with Sorigué’s active industrial complex in Balaguer (Lleida, in the northeast of Spain), becoming yet another piece of the landscape, as well as a point for observing all the processes that take place there.

The building brings together three singular visions of the PLANTA project: the natural environment, invoking its source; industry, as a reflection of value-generating processes; and the agricultural plantations, as a symbol of return.

“It is thrilling to see how the design of AS+ falls perfectly in line with the values of PLANTA while also being in harmony with the theme of this second Chicago Biennial, Make New History, given that PLANTA is exactly that: a look into the future as we capture the values of our origins”, stated Ana Vallés, chief executive officer of Sorigué and the driving force behind the PLANTA project.


The building takes the materials from the complex’s own gravel pit, drawing upon the relationship of those materials with the features of the environment, to organize a thermal machine that manages heat radiation, lighting, and ventilation to create efficient and sustainable thermodynamics. In the words of Ábalos y Sentkiewitcz, it strikes “a careful balance between form, material, and flow, making it possible to create an entirely self-sufficient building.”

At the heart of the design, the central building of 7,500 m2 is the definitive space that will host the Sorigué Foundation’s acclaimed collection of contemporary art, consisting of more than 450 works by artists of international renown. The structure serves as a vantage point for observing the entropic processes carried out over time through human action, tying together artistic and ecological-productive experiences. As stated by AS+, the intent of the building is to “connect the times and cultures of its location, drawing upon the media and iconography already in place.”

PLANTA’s architectural design benefits from the collaboration of Armin Linke, artist and photographer; Teresa Galí, landscape architect and partner of Jorde Nebot at the Arquitectura Agronomía firm in Barcelona; Salmaan Craig, researcher; and the Aiguasol and BAC engineering firms.


The PLANTA project emerged form the intersection of the Sorigué business group and the Sorigué Foundation, as a point of confluence of art, science, architecture, landscape, knowledge, and enterprise.

In its business aspect, PLANTA is an innovative management tool whose purpose is to act as a catalyst for value creation in the company by creating synergies, finding and developing talent, and driving a culture of innovation. In its cultural aspect, it aims to act as a benchmark for contemporary artistic creation, interacting intimately with a way of understanding the world from the standpoint of entrepreneurship, social return, and the genuine vision of artists.

The project is located at La Plana del Corb, a fully active industrial complex operated by the group in Balaguer (Lleida, Spain). It is an environment that embodies the origins and values of Sorigué, where industrial, agricultural, and R&D processes will coexist with contemporary artistic creation through site-specifics by artists of international renown, such as Anselm Kiefer, William Kentridge, Chiharu Shiota, Bill Viola and Juan Muñoz.

The PLANTA site will open its doors to the public in the near future, with the presentation of the work Double Bind by Juan Muñoz, installed for the first time in Spain following its debut at the Tate Modern in London in 2001.


The Sorigué Foundation art collection is one of Spain’s most important private collections, winner of the Arte y Mecenazgo prize awarded by the “la Caixa” foundation in May of 2015 and the 2017 GAC prize for collecting, awarded by the Gremio de Galerías de Arte (art galleries’ guild) of Catalonia with the collaboration of the Asociación Art Barcelona, in 2017.

The collection is organized around artistic values rather than specific styles, and focuses on the most sensitive and emotional aspects of contemporary art, brining together significant works by internationally renowned artists such as Chuck Close, Anish Kapoor, Antonio López, Daniel Richter, Doris Salcedo, Tony Cragg, Cristina Iglesias, Antony Gormley, Berlinde de Bruyckere and Julie Mehretu, along with many others.


In only its second edition, the Chicago Architecture Biennial has emerged as the most important architecture and design exposition in the Western Hemisphere, with the aim of demonstrating the transforming global impact of creativity and innovation in these fields.

This year’s Biennial, whose theme is “Make New History”, will be attended by more than 141 professionals from more than 20 countries. Its artistic directors, Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, have chosen architects and artists whose creations invite exploration of how contemporary architecture will impact future history.

The PLANTA exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Biennial includes graphic documentation and a scale model of the main building, five photo-books, and a landscape video, all created by artist Armin Linke, as well as a PLANTA catalog that displays the key pillars of the project: knowledge and the company, art and creativity, architecture and landscape.

The exhibit will be open to the public from September 16, 2017 until January 7, 2018.


Ábalos + Sentkiewicz (AS+) is an international architectural firm with offices in Madrid, Cambridge and Shanghai, directed by Iñaki Ábalos and Renata Sentkiewicz.

Iñaki Ábalos and Renata Sentkiewicz have been professors at such prestigious universities as GSD-Harvard University, Architectural Association, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, and ETSAM, combining academic, professional, and research activities.

Iñaki Ábalos is currently a full professor at ETSAM – Spain, and resident professor and Head of the Architecture Department at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Renata Sentkiewicz is currently the visiting critic at the Harvard University Graduate School of Desing.