Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Aluminium Refinery Offices in León, Spain by Madland Estudio & Espacio Papel arquitectos
August 31st, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Madland Estudio & Espacio Papel arquitectos
The commission was to build the main offices of an aluminium refinery. The project responds to the need for the building to be an emblem of the company, on one hand, and a functional building with a complex and diverse program on the other. The program can be defined in four different areas: administrative zone, education area, laboratories and dressing rooms. The building is attached to the refinery on two sides, has a square floor plan and a surface of 900m2.
The concept of the project is to create a central patio to give light to the different areas as well as to provide a protected outside space. The courtyard is 8 by 10 meters located in the center of the building, following the modulation of the steel structure. The different programmatic zones are organized around the inner patio, the circulation spaces evolve around it; they enjoy from the light, the natural ventilation and the vegetation of the courtyard. Except the dressing rooms, only allowed to the factory workers, that are only accessible through the service corridor.
As a concept for the design of the interior space a number of small volumes with “warm” materials contrast with the big spaces and “cold” materials typical of an industrial activity.
Six wooden boxes are designed for six strategic places in the building: one in the entrance, the second in the access to the patio, another one serves as an archive room for the administration, a forth one to host the servidor and a double one that contains the extractor and important work material. The last box is connected to the exterior on the southeast elevation, it is the office that buys and sells aluminium.
For the outside enclosure a double layer has been designed: a first inner brick wall and an exterior aluminium one. On the northeast elevation the two layers are two meters apart, generating a corridor connected to the main entrance. On the southeast elevation, the two skins are joined creating a ventilated facade.
The chosen material for the outside skin is aluminium as it could not be any other way in the headquarters of an aluminium refinery. The aluminium layer will be composed of lattice frameworks. The salts are painted on their inner surface and this color reflects on the exterior façade. The visitor first sees a glare of color and then, in the entrance gallery, sees directly the colored aluminium.
The lattice work allows the entry of light to the building, as well as it offers a good sun protection to the offices. On the southeast elevation, the windows will be protected with the aluminum frameworks while the brick parts of the façade will be cladded with aluminium plates. The patio facade will be done with big glass panes on the ground floor and with aluminium sandwich plates on the first floor.
The client demanded very short construction time, that is the reason why at the moment the enclosure has only one skin, while the design of the second layer is being developed. The images of the aluminium lattice framework correspond with a prototype that has been built to evaluate its resistance and good maintenance.