The urban context did not show any interest because of the building will be seen from the main approach road towards the city and, therefore, due to commercial reasons, it should be a singular icon for those who drive by.
More images and full architect’s description after the break.
The client demands an efficient consume energy building at the same time that an attractive and singular architecture.
Town planning fixed maximum volumetric specifications as well as a certain number of parking spaces that would mean having to make a two storey underground car park. This entailed many cubic meters of reinforced concrete retaining walls and a huge excavation process. On the contrary, the original topography is about three meters below the surrounding streets. The proposal keeps the original soil elevation and resolves the car park in just one storey by using the whole plot surface – this decision let us save up about a 25% of envoided energy- in such a way that the building is finally surrounded by a covered patio made of metallic framework (trees go through it from the car park level) that functions as a passable access and will let us glimpse the parking zone as we pass by.
The building façades will be covered as well by this metallic framework creating a great translucent volume. Owing to the fact that it is an office building, this skin has been designed not to let solar radiation in throughout the summer and to give first priority to natural indirect lighting.
This lighting strategy makes sense with four internal patios that function as a great linked atrium sustainably heated that supplies natural lighting to every common space (hall, bar, accesses,etc.) and particularly to every work space.
With respect to the structure, the building is conceived as a laminated timber load-bearing wall system that by means of modular board formats let us optimize the plate thickness of walls and ceilings. The three upper floors function as a great structural beam that frees up the whole ground floor that, due to its commercial activity, needed a clear space. On the contrary, the office floors are organized in a wall-passage alternated system that allows a flexible use through a matrix of identical and connected spaces. Every wall is structural so each main working space is already clearly-defined. Furnishings and screens will allow the companies to personalize their own interior spaces that, because of their proportions, can be furnished and divided in many different ways.
Working with structural timber instead of concrete, which is more usual, makes us save up another 25% in CO2 emissions during construction. Besides, structural timber will be kept as interior coating so we prevent placing the corresponding interior finishings and their envoided energy. As for the installations system, office floors will be resolved by a technical floor in order to prioritize user’s flexibility.
The building is designed to be completely built under dry construction methods, totally reversible and, in the future, it will be able to be dismantled and recycled. It will be mainly built with environmentally careful materials (low envoided energy and from renewable sources) which means a reduction of almost 60% in CO2 emissions for the whole life cycle of building materials. With regard to HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning), our main objective is reducing energy demand in order to optimize energy production systems in any efficient way.
Currently demands, costs and consumptions are being calculated within the hypothesis of a geothermal capture system, under-floor heating diffusion plus a ventilating free-cooling system and heat pump systems to cover the very specific maximum heating demands.