The architects of Badajoz’ congress centre would not have dreamt of this honour, even though they were convinced of their performance, but it went beyond their expectations. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York recorded their new construction as among the 53 most significant of Spain’s edifices in the last 30 years. The MOMA unveiled each of theses works in the course of an exhibition. That is why illustrations of the congress centre are displayed together with works by Zaha Hadid and Jean Nouvel. This exhibition is not the first, and not at all the last, that pays a tribute to the Palaco de Congresos by José Selgas and Lucia Cano Laso. Even the stage and lighting in the auditorium were awarded with a prize. The seats of the main auditorium obtained one of the most important of Europe’s prizes for design in Stockholm. This room can hold approximately 900 people.
The Palacio does not fit in with where it is located, because it stands directly before the wide town wall dating from the 17th century. Like many other towns of the same period, Badajoz was provided with a new fortification based on the plans of the French engineer Vauban. Near this defiant town wall stands today a resplendent and friendly rotunda. When approaching the congress centre, you will realise that the building is not constructed near the town wall but in fact above it. The Palacio seems to have been put on the defence building, depriving it of its main function. Whenever press conferences are held in the auditorium, speakers sit turning their back to the defence wall and the attendants are in front of it. Anyone who has already visited the impressive town fortification knows how fresh and playful the new congress centre appears at this place.
The architecture of an edifice does not play an important role when there happens to be a fair taking place. In this respect, Badajoz has an advantage that it can be reached from all directions. It is 200 kilometres by car from Seville in the south and from Lisbon in the west. From Salamanca you drive 300 kilometres on a motorway on which you will never be stuck in traffic. There are flights several times a day from Madrid and Barcelona to Badajoz. Moreover, as a border town Badajoz has got plenty of hotel accommodation in all price ranges.
The congress centre in Extremadura’s capital also has relatively the same features as those of Badajoz. The congress centre of Merida is located just five minutes from the motorway A66, which has recently been enlarged in the north of the city. The auditorium has a capacity of 1,000 seats and is equipped with an exhibition area of 900 square metres. Thus, exhibiting companies have enough space to comfortably present their products and ideas. Merida is also well prepared to receive a large numbers of guests. Hotels in the inner city can be easily reached in ten minutes by foot via the pedestrian bridge of the Guardiana. The congress centre by the riverside is also in good keeping with the ancient town constructions. The distance between the ancient Roman Bridge and the congress centre is so short that it can be walked during a lunch break.