Student Housing Diagonal Besos / MDBA

Student Housing Diagonal Besos / MDBA - More Images+ 25

San Adrián del Besós, Spain
  • Architects: MDBA, POLO architects
  • Photographs
    Photographs:Aldo Amoretti
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers:  Swisspearl
  • Lead Architects: Patrick Lootens & Maria Díaz
  • Client: LIFE
  • Operator: XIOR
  • Collaborators: Iosune Martin, Oana Birovescu, Sofia Simioni, Verena Recla, Caroline Huybrechts
  • Techical Architect: Xavier Bardaji
  • Campus Advisors Of Upc University: RQP
  • Installations: FiA
  • Sustainability Advisor: Societat Organica
  • Structure: Gendico
  • City: San Adrián del Besós
  • Country: Spain
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© Aldo Amoretti

Text description provided by the architects. The Campus Diagonal-Besòs forms a compact, carefully designed urban unit, located on a privileged site at the intersection of the streets La Diagonal and La Ronda. It is incorporated into the spectacular and varied development of the public city of the Foro area. The Residents Hall wants to play its particular role as a "social centre" of this Campus.  A place with large community facilities and a pleasant place for a diverse population of students, guest professors and researchers. The contours of the site are clearly defined along the alignment of several buildings on both sides of the emblematic wooden central deck. It is this wooden deck that brilliantly symbolizes what this campus wants to be: a harvest of knowledge and the exchange of ideas, education and research for students, professors and researchers, in a contemporary, open and pleasant environment, looking towards a promising and sustainable future.

© Aldo Amoretti
© Aldo Amoretti

The Resident Hall takes, due to its determined function, a particular role among the buildings on the Campus. It is the only building that will be permanently inhabited. Therefore, it aims for an expression that underlines coexistence with a hint of informality. The generous covered entrance area is an extension of the wooden deck, which takes the resident and visitor towards the internal functions of the building with elegance. The view throughout the site towards the garden beside the street intensifies this welcoming gesture.

© Aldo Amoretti
Floor Plan Floor -1
© Aldo Amoretti

The building is conceived around a central open space. This courtyard invites the overwhelming and crystalline daylight to enter, the light Barcelona is so well known for. The repetitive juxtaposition of the student residence units extends throughout the courtyard, forming an introspective green space for a pleasant and peaceful coexistence among its residents, protected from the noisy Ronda Litoral street. The courtyard reaches level -1, offering extra qualitative spaces for community use such as a gym, multipurpose rooms, multimedia rooms and a garden.

© Aldo Amoretti
Section C-C
© Aldo Amoretti

The volumetric strategy of the building is largely defined by the geometric constraints imposed by construction standards, especially the non-buildable area on the south side that needs special attention. To ensure a smooth alignment of the buildings along the Ronda Litoral, the outline of the building is cantilevered from the second floor up. This results in an articulated volume provided with a proud two-story plinth along the way.

The reduction of the height of the volume on the north side along the wooden deck is a very productive restriction at an urban level, since it offers a lower scale in the heart of the campus, a reference height that connects the volumes of the different buildings and an additional terraced space with a swimming pool, where the residents can relax, work and meet.

© Aldo Amoretti

The combination of these spatial elements results in an interesting cross section of the building. Without being extravagant, the architectural volume offers interesting and pleasant horizontal, vertical and diagonal perspectives. It mediates between an introverted social space for its residents while inviting an openness and a permeability in relation to the Campus.

The ground floor is provided with a restaurant located next to the walkway. Its location is very visible and easily accessible to residents, students, university staff and all campus visitors. The covered entrance area of the building gives way to a comfortable and pleasant extended terrace for the restaurant.

© Aldo Amoretti

The student residences have a repetitive character by definition. The design of the building fully understands this aspect and offers it in a fairly calm but expressive architecture. As such, the design strategy conforms to the modular architectural language of the now completed neighbouring buildings. The structure and design of the facade clearly show this modularity. However, in an attempt to highlight the residential character of the building, the repetitive position of the windows is blurred by aluminium panels that function as mobile sunscreens offering a more playful facade.

© Aldo Amoretti

The facades consist of precast concrete panels, combined with bronze aluminium panels for fixed cladding, mainly on the south and north facade. Sunscreens and parapets of aluminium are installed. In this way, the building will express its appropriate residential characteristic but plays with the textures and colors of the existing building. In doing so, the identity of the Campus is respected as a coherent, calm, refined but powerful urban unit. The Resident Hall adds another sculptural volume as one of the pieces of this chessboard.

© Aldo Amoretti

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Project location

Address:Sant Adrià del Besòs, Barcelona, Spain

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Student Housing Diagonal Besos / MDBA" [Residencia de estudiantes Diagonal Besòs / MDBA] 17 Oct 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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