Bjarke Ingels Group, along with Argenia Ingeniería y Arquitectura, Buro Happold, and HCP Arquitectos y Urbanistas, have received the first prize in an international multidisciplinary competition for the design of the new Joint Research Center Site Headquarters in Seville, Spain. A "cloud of pergolas" inspired by the shaded plazas and streets of Sevilla will shelter the entire JRC site, plaza, garden, and the building underneath, supported by a series of columns covered with photovoltaics that contribute positively to the building’s operational footprint.
Located at the former EXPO ´92 site in Isla de la Cartuja, Sevilla, the new 9,900 sqm building promotes the city's goal into becoming a global benchmark for sustainability by 2025, as well as contributes to eCitySevilla's vision of decarbonizing and transitioning Isla de la Cartuja into 100% renewable energy sources. The building will house 12 research units, as well as public and private outdoor spaces. As the pergola's outskirts are lowered to a human scale height, the research center follows the same design and adapts to the canopy, creating a series of terraces and shaded outdoor spaces for recreation and gatherings.
The overall layout of the project is designed to be flexible and adaptable according to any future needs of the center. Inside the JRC building, public programs and amenities such as dining, a conference center, and social spaces are organized on the ground floor, while the offices and research units are placed on the upper floors to ensure privacy and security. Collaborative workplaces are placed facing the plaza, whereas the private workspaces are placed facing the garden.
The design employs locally sourced materials, such as limestone, wood, and ceramic tiling. The building's structure is made of low-carbon concrete, which reduces up to 30% of CO2 emissions, whereas the pergola cloud is made of recycled steel. Gardens and water elements are integrated within the outdoor landscape to reduce/eliminate the heat island effect. In addition to the energy harvested from the panels and technologies applied across the building, the canopy will feature integrated rainwater collection technologies. In addition, shallow floorplates and shading under the pergola allows for natural cross ventilation and ideal light qualities, reducing the energy consumption typically caused by artificial lightening, air conditioning, and mechanical ventilation.
With our design for the Joint Research Centre in Sevilla, more than anything, we have attempted to allow the sustainable performance of the building to drive an architectural aesthetic that not only makes the building perform better but also makes it more inhabitable and more beautiful – a new Andalusian environmental vernacular. -- Bjarke Ingels
In May 2021, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), endorsed by the International Union of Architects (UIA), launched an international multidisciplinary project competition for the design of the new JRC Site Headquarters in Seville, Spain. The competition sought a "forward-looking, innovative, and cost-efficient construction, aiming at integrating multiple disciplines to achieve the highest sustainability targets for a new construction project". The international jury chaired by Bernard Magenhann, Deputy Director General of the JRC, looked into 15 entries before choosing the winning project. The jury commended the design for the monumental power collected from the shading canopy, and how it is able to simultaneously create attractive urban spaces that promote transparency, inclusion, and energy efficiency.
The second prize was given to Dorte Mandrup, with Ines Ingenieros Consultores, Jansana, De la Villa, De Paauw, Arquitectes, Installacions Arquitectoniques, and Activitats Arquitectoniques, whereas the third prize was given to Cobe, with Esteyco, FSL Ingeniería y Diseño Sostenible, Estudi Ramon Folch i Associats, and b720 Arquitectura.
The project is expected to break ground in 2024.