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.
New offices of the Botín Foundation in Madrid, Spain by MVN architects
November 28th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: MVN architects
The Botín Foundation has established its new offices in Madrid by choosing a 1920s industrial building by the architect Gonzalo Aguado, which was for years the Silversmith workshop of Luis Espuñes and more recently the Vinçon shop in Madrid.
The peculiarity of this building has given us the opportunity to create a reference point. With this in mind, the new project attempts to retain the spirit of the original industrial character, in keeping with the same philosophy of the Foundation, which is a driving force for developing talent.
The principal objective of the architectural concept is that once again, natural light can enter the whole building, which has remained in the dark since its last use. Not only have the infilled windows and skylights been reopened, but also the internal structure has been altered to create a double-height atrium for the use as the main lobby. The direct day light and natural vegetation impose character and personality to this meeting place.
The project aims to reveal the historical changes of the building by exposing the original steel and brickwork; the various alterations in the past; and by contrast, the new construction work whose finishes are mainly oak, steel and glass.
The ground floor is intended for public activities with a flexible but modular, clear open space. There are two movable partitions, one opaque and the other transparent which have four possible positions. Depending on the different requirements of each activity, the space can be easily adapted by the various combinations available. The use of natural wood on the floor and ceiling adds warmth to this area.
The first floor is to be used by the management of the Foundation with a private area for meetings and the spacious, luminous open area, under the original roof structure and the new skylights. The two areas are arranged around the new light well and crowned by a lantern over the atrium.
The solution for the only enclosed space as required by the programme, is a glass box with minimal framework. Free-standing, like a piece of furniture, it does not interfere with the space as a whole.
Emilio Medina García and Diego Varela de Ugarte of MVN Arquitectos, are the Project Architects and they worked in collaboration with Juan Luis Líbano who is the Foundation’s Interior Design Consultant. The contractor was Ferrovial.
A new opening has been formed at first floor level to make way for the atrium. One of the roof trusses has been removed and replaced by a metal structure, allowing a new opening in the roof for the new lantern over the atrium area.
The original staircases, one of which was an escalator, have been modified and adapted to suit the new layout. In order to open up the ground floor level, two pillars have been demolished and the immediate surrounding structure reinforced.
The existing double-pitched roof which had a tiled finish has been substituted completely with zinc panels and two layers of thermal insulation material have added. The lateral flat roof finish has been renewed and thermal insulation has also been added.
Facades and External Openings
The original facades are subject to conservation control so the materials and finishes are therefore protected and cannot be altered. The original openings of the building have been reopened, as they had been filled-in during previous alterations to the building.
The new external doors and window frames are made of steel, 1 mm thick and insulated. Due to the close proximity of the adjoining properties, fire resistant glazing was required in order to prevent the rapid spread of fire.
The new skylights are made of extruded aluminium and contain a built-in environmental control system, domotically regulated, so that the air output is controlled automatically.
Under the skylights, there are sliding and automated textile blinds which provide sunscreen protection during the maximum hours of sunlight.
In all the main areas, oak has been used for flooring and false ceilings. The doors and wall panelling as well as the finish of the moveable partitions have been veneered with 4mm thick oak. In every case, the oak has been treated with colourless oil to show the grain of the timber without altering its natural tone, this is essential to maintain the atmosphere of the new space.
The meeting room area on the first floor has been segregated from the management area by a partition made of “U” shaped profiled glazing. The other glazed partitions are framed with steel or aluminium. All the metallic elements throughout the building have been painted black.
The surrounding panels of the atrium at roof level and at first floor level have been finished with timber slats of oak fixed to secondary steelwork.
On the ground floor in the central area, all the various service installations are incorporated within the acoustic false ceiling which is made up of longitudinal timber slats and acoustic absorbent felt. It has also been treated with flame retardant and is fully accessible for maintenance purposes.
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