ArchitectsEQUIP Xavier Claramunt
From the architect. It was proposed to intervene on existing industrial premises from the motorway in order to adapt it for use as headquarters of a high-end car dealer. The first stage of the work entailed the completion of the existing construction in order to occupy the entire available space. The second stage involved rearranging the resulting space, through the construction of an intermediate forging. The third stage transforms the building into a true advertisement of itself through the iconic assimilation of the metallic protection barriers that extend along the edges of roads and motorways; in this way, the façade of the construction becomes a replica on a giant scale of this metallic profile of sinuous section.
In the first zone the peaked roof typology is maintained with the addition of a series of perversities to permit the penetration of natural light. In this end we adopted two different project mechanisms. Where we wanted to gain height for the space immediately below, we extended the ascending slope up to the necessary height, and then completed the other slope in a symmetrical manner. A point of greatest height thus appears. The second mechanism is used to build a roof that is half flat with the other half opened for the light that floods in, while conserving the original slope. A point of lower height thus appears. Alternating slopes and planes on a diagonal allows us to keep the unity of the enclosure, where stretches of lesser and greater heights appear as rhythmical anecdotes. The metallic trusses rest on two concrete porticoes in the central part and metallic pillars at the ends.
In the second zone, a metallic structure supports a roof that ascends when it approaches the street and ends by crowning the façade with a curved line. This is the display space for the vehicles, where the metallic summers bridge the existing span between a line of steel pillars and the continuous and self-supporting façade structure. The final manipulation of this space seeks the degree of comfort one might expect from a drawing room, with a car sitting smoothly on a rug.
Then an intermediate level is built inside the original bays with a horizontal forging and concrete pillars parallel to the existing metallic structure. The height is determined by the requirements of the activities that take place on the ground floor. On the second level there is a car park for the staff and the management and administration offices. The entrance level includes the workshops, storerooms, after-sales services, sales and display space.
The aim is to shape a façade that will transform the building into an advertisement of itself. A metallic structure was erected to hold two shells. Using fibre cement plates, the enclosure was built to make the building watertight and finish the inside. The second one, more external and not watertight, is made from mechanized stainless steel panels installed longitudinally, parallel to the streets and road. This curtain of waves shrinks at certain points to mark the accesses and to give a view of the car display zones. The ratio of scale between the open glazed parts and the curtain of waves insinuates two distances from which to perceive the building: one from the motorway and road, in movement, and another one a few meters from the building, static, from street level. The middle point is a no-man’s-land. You are either far away, reading an advertising hoarding, or in front of the cars on display, about to walk into the building. The clue to interpreting the shape is provided by the protection barriers of the motorway, from one has privileged views of the building.