Architects: A E I O U arquitectos
Location: Valladolid, Spain
Architect In Charge: José Antonio Lozano García
Collaborators: Cristina Agudo García/Marcos Cortes Lerín/Rosa Andrés Pérez/Ana Hernando Asenjo
Area: 2,668 sqm
Photographs: José Antonio Lozano García – Marcos Cortes Lerín
The building, of slender proportions, is located in one of the most beautiful corners of the city of Valladolid due largely to the most beautiful bridge that crosses the river Pisuerga. The plot is located at the end of a big park and marks, somehow, the end and the beginning of the city. The experience of the building starts on the outside, with its approach and its access and ends in an interior flooded with views over the river Pisuerga and the city of Valladolid.
As one approaches the Monasterio del Prado Avenue the west elevation already stands out in the city skyline: a concrete wall with an enormous conceptual clarity. The noisy traffic activity of the Salamanca Avenue is responded to by this blind canvas which offers a massive silent response. The cleanness of the facade is interrupted by the penetration of the building’s initials [FRMP]which already, from a distance, indicatebuilding’s function: the headquarters of the Regional Federation of Municipalities and Provinces [of Castilla y León]. This concrete screen rises up in front of an urban space which articulates the plot’s corner condition as well as it precedes the river crossing through the old bridge [Puente Colgante].
The access to the building is done through an incliningplane that forces to leave behind the urban plaza and to turn ones back on the relentless traffic of the Salamanca Avenue.The sloping plane presents itself as a modern mosaic in which all the names of the participating municipalities are carved in the pavement showing the presence of all members of the headquarters. The access, therefore, becomes a walk through the entire region, town by town, province by province up to the institution’s initialsthat represent them. The acronym FRMP, built of white concrete, frames the access to an urban lobby which is turned into a viewpoint over the Pisuerga River. The ‘M’ becomes the entrance to the building as a symbol of the presence of all municipalities of Castilla y León.
The vertical ascent is done inside a clock. The clockis also a glass panoramic elevator and allows the building to establish a visual communication between people who use it and the ones who cross the river over the Puente Colgante. A trip inside time that not only refers to the symbolism of the clock in the traditional image of public buildings but also becomes a living tribute to the relationship between time and motion described in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
The three remaining elevations are designed to capture as much natural light as possible in order to create an illuminated working space.One can perceive in the inside, thanks to the concrete canvas, a subtle silence that becomes the soundtrack of a space flooded with light and wrapped in transparent shadows and reflections of the building, the city, the river and the suspension bridge. All these reflections and transparencies form a visual collage and allow workers to make eye contact between theirworking space and the privileged urban environment in which the building is located. This façade is perforated by four glass patioswhich create a closer relationship between the workers and the Pisuerga River.
The building not only resolves this delicate corner of the urban tissue but also, from its design to its materialization,it ‘stitches’ the natural artery of thePisuergaRiver and the artificial artery of the Salamanca Avenue. The response of these two antagonistsis best seen in the design of the elevations. The institution is represented not only by the presence of the building but also through the transparency of the glass façade and the cleanness of the concrete one. The choice of the materials only reinforces the idea of creating a building which derives in a suitable work space.