‘Veles e Vents’, opened in May 2006, was the central base for all America's Cup teams and sponsors within a remarkable eleven months of the architects’ receiving the commission to design it. The building and park were the social focal point for the America's Cup, the world's premier sailing racing competition, staged in Europe for the first time in over 150 years, and the centrepiece of the re-organised old industrial port of Valencia. The building is a stacked concrete structure with white steel trim; a ceiling of white metal panels; external floors of solid timber, and internal floors of white resin. It is a sporty and nautical building, very light on its feet and thoroughly appropriate to its function.
Chipperfield doesn’t normally do icons. Yet this one has literally put him on the map: he is rather proud of the fact that local hand-out city plans mark the edificio Chipperfield. The concrete framed building takes the form of three trays clad in nautical white painted steel. Each tray is of different dimensions and non-aligned with the one above, giving it the air of a busy waiter struggling not to drop his dishes. It gives a playfulness to what could have been a highly formal structure.
The eleven month gestation and delivery period had its benefits: it focussed minds and meant decisions got made quickly. And what has been achieved is truly remarkable: a pavilion for rich people yes, but one that all Valencians can visit to use its bars and restaurants which remain in full swing. And because of the open decks you have the feeling you have been inside the building even if you haven’t gone through a door.