Architects: G+F Arquitectos
Photographs:Miguel de Guzmán
Text description provided by the architects. New offices for County Council in Zamora must give an answer not only to a specific program but also to one of the most complex places in the city of Zamora: Viriato square, important stop in the city route. The proposal offers the fourth façade to the square, completing the architectonic group of the Encarnación Hospital (North), Ramos Carrión Theater and the Condes de Alba y Aliste Palace (South).
The new offices building is organized around a courtyard that offers:
-Duplicate the number of places with North-South orientation and reduce places with no natural light.
-Obtain diagonal views to the square and its surrounding being now part of its interior life, its routes and its rest.
-Generate a compact image in correspondence to the rest of buildings but being conscious of necessities of natural lighting to offices.
External material of both the façade and the courtyard is solved with Arenisca stone of Zamora in the same way as the close historical buildings. This stone is used as a transventilated façade that, far from hiding its constructive system, reinforces its character by means of showing its internal steel structure. At the lowest part, there is a stone base that suggests the same historical language of surrounding walls in the city. Horizontal deck made with stone is another facade.
There are two kinds of windows giving a clear face to exterior. The first ones have a vertical conception and are used in those facades to the square and streets. On the other hand, and with the intention of having a correct illumination of certain spaces, large surfaces of glass are used. Being in the internal courtyard, the goal was avoiding strong contrasts with compact surroundings.
Nevertheless, the building opens its vision and contact with Viriato square by means of using a deep hole through the courtyard. People can enter to it from offices in first floor and it can be used as a representative balcony for public uses of the Council.
The size of the courtyard is increased in high in order to allow light and sun enter into the spaces that are around it. Besides, ground floor and first floor are on two different levels so that views to courtyard aren´t made from the same height and allow some distance between different working spaces. The courtyard is designed to have stone surfaces and vegetation that will be green all year. The tree is a populus alba that, for being so longitudinal, can be seen from every fl oor. As it is a deciduous tree, it will modify the general image in every season besides allowing sun in winter.
Concerning to the interior spaces, the courtyard is the organizer of space, creating larger pieces to north and south where open offices place larger number of workers, and two smaller ones to west and east where rooms with the use of offices and meetings are placed. Closed offices are inserted in North façade in connection with working open space in order to place those workers that need larger privacy in their work, but without losing proximity with the rest. Versatility in internal distribution will allow the building to adapt to future changes.
Materials used in the interior try to reinforce the compactness of the façade, but open to the courtyard and trying to be anonymous so that the stone could be the main character.
At the internal perimeter, some closets have been placed with shelves that will be used as live archives for workers and for storing daily tools. In it, the holes of the windows will be emphasized as deep archers that look to the exterior.