Text description provided by the architects. Architecture simple and absolute, expresses itself by means of two volumes that are the result of a sutil suport betwen solid, closed and geometrically leaned bodies.
The new corporate building for Ferretería O´Higgins contains offices, services and storage space for high precission tools used in large scale mining.
Administrative offices, services and sales space are located in the west end of the building, storage and operations space in the back.
In the front, the building is divided into two areas by the three storeys high lobby, where the staircase stands out as the main element of the space, expressing itself as a suspended, light and transparent object.
The weight supporting structure is surrounded by a Corten steel double skin, reinforcing the idea of two solid bodies, and at the same time protecting the inside of exterior temperature and direct solar radiation. An air chamber is created betwen the exterior Corten steel skin and the interior insulated panel facade, wich helps creating a very eficient thermar barrier.
Because of its outside material, the building changes color according to the sunlight and the passing of time. The building reacts as a living body, showing different and changing shades of orange, brown and ocher in its skin. In the front the main facade stands out within the building, defining a transluscent veil made out of perforated Corten steel sheets, that allows people to look outside controlling solar radiation at the same time. These sheets move slightly and constantly with of the wind, wich combined with the efect of the multipurpose water mirror located in their base, give the building a dinamic dimension.
Since its conception the building incorporates sustainable and bioclimatic strategies, giving privilege to the rational use of energy and protection of the enviroment. The Corten steel double skin generates a vertical Venturi effect of passive ventilation, wich works together with the other sustainable and energy saving strategies to achieve a better living quality in the interior working space.
The building uses bioclimatic technologies for interior space conditioning. The outer skin of the earth is used as a temperature baffle both in winter and summer, by introducing naturally underground climatized air and generating a permanent air renewal, achieving constant temperatures betwen 18° and 24°C (64.5° and 75.2°F) all year round (geothermic weather conditioning).
Controled sunlight comes in trhough transluscent stripes in the ceiling (7%), completely eliminating the need for artificial lightning during daytime operations, with great energy savings.
A multipurpose water mirror is located in the front of the building configuring the main acces to it. Besides having an aesthetic value, it is a water resevoir in case of fire, and through the evaporation of water keeps the facade of the building cold during the summer months, bettering the inside living enviroment.
Special atention was put into the rational use of water. Artefacts with high technology, design and efficiency have been used, with automatic faucets, controlling the use of water and reducing it in about 65%.
The landscape project is based in the use of low maitenance and low water consuption species, olive trees and landgrasses (Gramineae), giving a clear sign of a better use of hidric and economic resources.