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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

Metro entrances for San Sebastian. Eleva in Spain by BABELstudio

September 2nd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: BABELstudio

‘Eleva’, the proposal for the entrances to the new underground of San Sebastian, is based on the idea of the manipulation of the terrain. As the tubes of the metro network are generated by excavating and perforating the ground, the access is created by cutting the pavement in correspondence to the superfitial world.

Metro San Sebastian (Image Courtesy BABELstudio)

  • Architects: BABELstudio
  • Project: Metro entrances for San Sebastian. Eleva
  • Location: San Sebastian, Spain
  • Subject: Competition for station entrances of the future San Sebastian underground
  • Client: Euskal Trenbide Sarea, Department of Housing, Transport and Public Works of the Basque Government
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Images: BABELstudio

Metro San Sebastian (Image Courtesy BABELstudio)

The concept is to recognize the place to penetrate and – as the Pink Panther would do – cut the surface and elevate it to obtain an access to the subterranean world. Finally the area of intervention is delimited and pointed out by a change of material.

Metro San Sebastian (Image Courtesy BABELstudio)

As a result the object in sinuos curves emphasizes its strong sculptural character demanding its protagonism in the urban scale. The entrances are conceived as landmarks of the city of San Sebastian, leading the users to recognize them as an inseparable part of the metro and the urban surroundings.

Elevation 01

The construction is made of a curved reinforced-concrete shell structure that, due to its catenary shape, provides a minimal thickness ensuring the lightness of the object. Considering the coatings and waterproofing requirements the minimum section is calculated with approximately 12cm. The structure in white concrete is polished on its underside and covered with black hexagonal ceramic tiles on the outer face. These pieces are manufactured in different finishes. While rough textured ones are used for the pavement, the tiles gradually change to satinated and finally enamelated ones. The light softly illuminates the pixelated appearance of the curve and spreads to all directions generating expressive nuances of light.



BABELstudio, founded by Andrea García Crespo and Michael Schmidt in 2011, has its main office in Bilbao. The practice works on the investigation, development and construction of architectural projects and in the elaboration of various international competitions. The current works include buildings for public and private purposes in different places and scales.

Section 01

BABELstudio urges the concept of an open-sourced and interdisciplinary studio. Interested in a close collaboration with various fields as design, arts and innovative technologies, the studio is conceived as a center of a collective dialogue.

Section 02

The practice of BABELstudio believes that in every design process lies an initial idea, that, associated with the interpretation of the character of each site and programme lead us to a precisely elaborated concept. Only anchoring the project in its specific context, circumstances and complexities it is possible to generate an architecture avoiding a predetermined style and achieve high quality design. Following this approach our office constantly explores the articulation of space and its materialization.


In resume our conviction is to design architecture capable to reach a synthesis of concept, functional integration and beauty.


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