The biggest building of Spain

This building, located on the outskirts of Gijón (Asturias) is considered the biggest building of Spain with more than 270,000 square metres. Nowadays, it is known as the City of Culture, but originally it was the Universidad Laboral de Gijón (Labour University of Gijón). It has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, the great majority of its buildings have functions related to education and culture, and can be visited by tourists. Here is an overview of its history and monumentality.

Past and present

City of Culture of Gijón, old Labour University

City of Culture of Gijón, old Labour University. | Shutterstock

The building of this huge work began in the mid-1940s, during the Franco regime, when mining was one of the most important activities in the Spanish economy. In fact, its origin was to become an orphanage for children who had lost their parents in accidents in the mines.

As a result, the works were carried out between 1948 and 1957. Until José Antonio Girón, its main promoter, the Minister of Labour, was removed from his position. By then, that initial intention of being an orphanage had been forgotten, and it had turned towards its function as an educational centre. Thus, at a time when this type of institution was developing all over the country, it became the ‘Universidad Laboral de Gijón’.

Inside of the Labour University of Gijón

Inside of the Labour University of Gijón. | Shutterstock

As it is above mentioned, it is now known as the City of Culture and consists of several schools, the Vocational Training Centre, the Professional Conservatory of Music and Dance and the Higher School of Dramatic Art. Besides, there are also a museum of contemporary art and a great theatre, which are the most attractive places for tourists.

Enjoy as a tourist

Luis Moya was the architect of this amazing building. A curious fact of this building is that it is not face towards Gijón as the original layout of this city. This university was designed in order to go around to appreciate this incredible building when you are coming to it from Gijón. It follows the example of other iconic places such as the Parthenon in Athens.

Its 129-metre-high tower is the first thing that stands out about the building. Of course, one notices the tower long before arriving at the place. For its construction, the architect was inspired by the Giralda of Seville Cathedral or the Tower of Hercules, the Roman lighthouse that survives in A Coruña.

These buildings are breathtaking, especially the church. It is located in the courtyard and has an elliptical floor plan of 807 square metres, so it is the largest of these features in the world. The building had to be designed in this way, as it was built with the idea of accommodating a thousand students and teachers. Taking a few minutes to appreciate its small details of its external decoration is totally necessary.

Not forgetting its central courtyard, whose measurements are like the ones of the San Marcos’s Square in Venice. As it is before mentioned, this building was designed to be as a city, for that reason, the courtyard is 150 metres long and 50 metres wide. For these reasons, and many others which are not mentioned, the old University of Gijón is a must.

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