The new headquarters of the provincial management for the Public Service of State Employment in Huelva is located in the brand-new neighbourhood of “Pescadería”. The new building is within a triangular block in the southwest extreme of the city, next to the river Odiel’s salt marsh. The proposed programme develops an administrative area of 4.360 m², spread over five floors. Each floor has an opened office space and other smaller pieces as individual offices for directors or phone service cabins.
The basement, which occupies the whole plot, hosts the file, the store, and other technical areas. It is precisely, the construction of the underground floor which has meant the greatest difficulty during the construction works, since the subsoil has a scanty cohesion and the phreatic level is almost superficial next to the river. That’s why the foundation is made of prefabricated piles, and the containment system consist on large steel sheet piles stuck into the ground.
Once the structure was finished, the rest of the building has been eminently constructed with prefabricated elements which have enabled to minimize the construction wastes and to shorten the construction times. Most of the facade is wrapped by prefabricated panels of GRC, a type of concrete internally reinforced with fiberglass, instead of the usual steel. This makes them much lighter and easier to handle, and although they are only 2 cm thick they have a great thermal inertia. Its white colour gives them also a great capacity for reflection of sunlight, as a heritage of Mediterranean architecture.
The sustainability of the building has been very much in mind during its conception. The isolation is provided by the façade and the design of different kind of windows adapted to each orientation. Thus, the south façade possesses longitudinal windows protected by an aluminium lattice of slats. This fact allows to control the incidence of sunlight into the working areas, and even gets total lightless where it’s necessary.
On the other hand, a large glass facade provides panoramic views over the port landscape and the marsh to the North, form where we have indirect lighting and the solar incidence is almost zero. The great glass wall provides the transparency which is necessary in all public organisation.
Thanks to a skin with a texture of irregular fretwork, the building becomes visually dynamic to the passage of pedestrians and vehicles. These fretwork projects thin shadows over the facade itself, emphasizing the verticality of the volume and giving it a light and changing appearance throughout the day and the different seasons. These reliefs generate a kind of code around the building, which also covers the glass curtain wall by a silk-screened draw.