Text description provided by the architects. The city of Salamanca, is located in an inner valley at the base of the Choapa River, a minning and rural area. The surrounding landscape includes a long narrow agriculture strip surrounded by vertical arid slopes. This project introduces a new height for the present low construction city. This height does not mean a tower that can be seen from outside, but instead a five floor building understood as an interior in relation to the valley.
The site is adjacent to the city’s main square, Plaza de Armas de Salamanca. The first intuition was to start the building tour from enlarged public sidewalk, thinking the building as part of an urban situation.
The building contains a ramp system, which runs through an interior space opened to the landscape from ground level up to the terrace on the top floor, bringing together the various municipal services. To receive the ramps, two independent structures are based from the ground floor with a level mismatch. The ramps connect both volumes, complemented by two staircases -one at each end- which serves as shortcuts for work teams and the public.
This whole space where programmed complexity converges, receives a large number of people daily, consolidating the public nature of the building. This building proposes a meeting place for a tight community, as it is a town of no more than 12,000 inhabitants. All floor levels open to this main space, where worker teams receive the public in a relaxed atmosphere, brought inside the building by distant landscape views.
The physical attributes of the interior are activated to ventilate the place by convection, taking air in an underground yard and venting it in the top. It is naturally illuminating with a skylight at the top of the route and a glass wall facing north. With an eave six meters wide, the building regulates the light in winter and summer, in the geometric relationship with the south hemisphere solar tour.
The journey upward from the urban ground to the fourth floor progresses from public to private with public programs in the lower levels, which are more open to the community, to more private programs in the upper levels.
In each level, departments are distributed perpendicularly along the length of the building. From the receipts of the ramps you go through a series of layers to reach the inner offices, where the river and northern slopes of the valley are seen.
The building process started with a seismic-proof concrete structure erected on site, and all other construction elements –like concrete panels, ramps and glasses- are prefabricated outside this isolated city and assembled to the main structure with flexible connections, that dissipate seismic movements..