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Salburúa Nature Interpretation Centre / QVE Arquitectos

  • Architects: QVE Arquitectos
  • Location: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain
  • Architect: QVE Arquitectos
  • Architects In Charge: José María García del Monte, Ana María Montiel Jiménez & Fernando García Colorado
  • Structure Consultant: José Luis Fernández Cabo
  • Services Consultant: GEA S.L.
  • Cost Consultant: José Luis Montoya & Luis Alberto Martinez de Sarriá / Construction Phase
  • Area: 2000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2003

Salburúa Nature Interpretation Centre / QVE Arquitectos Salburúa Nature Interpretation Centre / QVE Arquitectos Salburúa Nature Interpretation Centre / QVE Arquitectos Salburúa Nature Interpretation Centre / QVE Arquitectos

From the architect. The opportunity to risk and try to arrive where you had never been: the joy of playing with gravity

The will to project the building beyond its limits, flying over the water, to put the visitors in a privileged place: just inside the park, once forgotten the city at their backs, over the water, in a point at which you could not arrive otherwise: a twenty one meters span cantilever made of wood and steel

The will of not masking the structure during the constructive process: we did not want to make a "wood-looking-building" but a real wood-building. From structure to finished building, hardly any new layers have appeared and at no time do they hide the wood.

Sustainability must born in mind right from the very spatial conception of the building: we have created shade and cross-ventilation, we made unnecessary to install air-conditioning, so we will only consume what is strictly necessary and, we'll save a lot of money and energy on gadgets. Sustainability refers also to not to use asphalt or plastic products, to let the water run free (not draining it, we are on wetlands), to use Nordic wood as main material for the whole building, to use autocompactable concrete, which avoids noise pollution, an important issue in such a biodiversity site...

The difficulty of the project was to find the laws which were coherent with a risky construction scheme. We checked the scheme to estimate its dimensional limits, study knots, analyze how to reach enough rigidity, how to manage to reach the necessary fire resistance and how to protect the most delicate points from rain, without "sacrifice skins" that would transform the image of the building.

In a few words, we needed to find an order which would avoid conflicts and which would allow the building to "grow by himself".

So, we designed six frames for six section schemes, according to the desired geometry; used concrete walls and steel knots to solve the contact between two worlds (wood and ground) and decided a severe rhythm for the whole building; each part is built up by repetition, so we could make it grow or contract by adding or clearing a number of frames.

Now the building is just finished, the area must reborn and the wood must age... years will improve it.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"Salburúa Nature Interpretation Centre / QVE Arquitectos" 29 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>