This proposal arises from a deep analysis of the location and environment, it is a study of
the existing to design the future of the Seu. The project, which is located in the most fertile zone of the Valira River, takes as an
architectonic referent the Castellciutat. The designed campus is integrated with the environment, it rises above the topography
and it acts as a filter between the public and private space. The territory’s architecture, materiality, and character were taken as the
basis to construct a building that is a groundbreaking in terms of functionality, sustainability, and efficiency using existing systems.
The project’s adaptation to the environment
Based on plot characteristics and the requested program and its surface,
the following measures were applied:
– Generate a maximum line of building occupancy with a distance of 3.5 m from the limits of the plot. In this manner, it is possible to have air within the bordering plot.
– Organize the programme in an elongated band which is located on the Northern side of the plot. As a result, the maximum exposition to the sunlight is received by the Southern part of the plot, and the building does not shadow the rest of it. Furthermore, it ends the plot on the limit and it creates a Northern windscreen for the external programme of the ground floor.
– This programmatic band bends on the extreme North to construct the plot’s closing on the limits of the Northeast and creates access to the principal entrance to the campus.
– A new topography connected with the existing one rises the ground floor and allows to potentiate the integration of the campus within the environment. The project turns out to be a reference similar to the Castellciutat which is a building in the territory, generating a valley of activities inside the mountain which is protected by the perimetral topography.
Organization of the functional programME
The functional programme is organized in a longitudinal band that is bent in one of its extremes. On this band, we included two cuts generating three programmatic blocks that allow, first, the optimization of the circulation, and second, an independent use.
The first block (block A), located at the Northeast with the principal access is, locates the following:
– The event room and the bar/restaurant on the ground floor. It allows easy access and the possibility of being used independently from the rest of the campus’ programmes.
– The programme includes the library, a study room, and tutorial rooms. The location of these facilities in the first block allows to use them independently from the rest of the campus’ programmes and also to have a direct connection to the classroom zone and the teachers’ area in the second block.
In the second block (block B), there is the reception, located in the main access of the building. Moving southwards, we can find the labs and ateliers with an exit leading outside. This relationship with the exterior allows to perform all activities outdoors, people can get inside easily, and it is possible to deliver large material without the need of entering the building.
– On the first floor, we can find the spaces destined to be classrooms with different measurements according to the uses that they will be given. The classrooms have adjusted proportions guaranteeing daylight in the whole room. One of the walls of each classroom has mobile panels making it possible to join two rooms. The small classrooms have exterior access in the South, thus expanding the functional space. Besides, next to the main vertical circulation, there is an informal space for working and a zone for students to socialize. The circuits connect the main circulation with the library, the study hall, and the tutorial rooms, which are located in the first block.
– On the third floor, we can find all the spaces exclusively for teachers and administrative workers. There are interior and exterior spaces to improve the quality of the workplace. This level is connected by its extremes with a vertical circulation that gives easy access to the rest of the programmes on the campus.
The third block (block C), located in the Southern part, offers spaces for physical activity and general services on the campus (warehouses, installations…)
– On the ground floor, we can find a multipurpose field and wardrobes, everything located in the zone with the building’s secondary access and the Southeastern vertical accesses. In the same way, the multipurpose field has direct access to the exterior part using two facades: the Eastern one opens up to the exterior field and the Western one to the space that allows physical and informal activities in the fresh air.
-On the first floor, the campus services are found, for example, warehouses, which are connected to the sports’ or teacher’s space and maintenance rooms. The location of these zones allows easy access and the optimization of the circuits installations. In this part, it is possible to load and download in the parking zone.
-On the first level, we find the cardio and free weight zone, on the multipurpose space, and they both are visually related. This sportive zone is connected to the classrooms and the general vertical circulation of the building.
The vertical communication and service core are placed next to the interstitial spaces which were created to separate the three blocks. This allows improving the circulation of people and the circuit’s installations.
The design of the future IEF centre was born with the idea of integrating the building topographically ino the environment. This is why we decided to use a semi-basement developed with a massive typology that is similar to the components of the underground; on top of it, there are three independent blocks formed by two levels. These three volumes are very light, because they recall local and traditional constructions.
We considered cement and stone as the foundation for a light construction made of wood. This idea responds to the architectonic requirements in the aesthetic uses and avoids the direct contact of wood with the terrain, as it eliminates any possible pathology derived from humidity.
Due to the dimensions of the building’s first floor, it is necessary to have expansion joints. In this case, we proposed to have intermediate spaces linked by sliding joints in the two neighbouring blocks.
The constructive and structural project based on prefabrication and dried joints make it easy to maintain these two. Finally, the development of a “digital twin” of the building allows to optimize the maintenance and avoid problems by identifying the risks with preventive solutions.
Materiality of the building
The project chases the coherence with the environment and the location. This is why we apply traditional, local material to the present constructive systems. They support the naturalization of the project and the biophilia or the joint of the human being with nature in an ancestral and evolutive form.
The proposal includes materials of local use such as stone and wood, and the zinc plates give us the characteristic tonality of the roofs of the zone. The vegetation in the project is used as construction material and composes the complete coating.
Sustainability and bioclimatic design
The decisions in the project optimize the comfort of users. This is why we seek to improve certain aspects related to the passive systems:
– All the spaces have natural ventilation and most of them have been designed to allow cross ventilation which guarantees the renovation of the interior air.
– The building has a north-south orientation that allows controlled sunlight and illumination. In the case of the south facade, it is controlled by brise soleils installed in the double facade. This guarantees to shadow in the interior space during the summer months, but it also allows solar energy to pass during winter.
– The building has a compact form that minimizes the surface exposed to the exterior temperature and reduces the thermal loss.
– The ground floor is semi-buried, especially the north face. It considerably reduces the thermal needs of these spaces because it gets a comfortable temperature.
– The ventilated facade system allows improving the thermal behavior, especially in the months of summer. It guarantees correct vaporization from the water and avoids humidity and keeps the insulation dry.
– All the spaces have natural ventilation and most of them have been created to allow cross ventilation and guarantee the renovation of the interior air.
The project was designed taking into account the life cycle of the materials and the constructive systems used in order to optimize reusing or dismantling. This design reduces waste and carbon print from the building making it a sustainable and closed system.
Installations and energy saving
The philosophy to design the installations is to exploit the natural resources from the environment. We wanted to create a system that reduces energy consumption and CO₂ emissions without leaving behind the user’s comfort. The conditioning installation and the ACS production cause a higher consumption in buildings. Energetically, the installation is the most important and we have to have special care to get an efficient installation. It was designed a conditioning system and ACS production that combines different renewable technologies. We chose a centralized system of energy production that combines sun photovoltaic energy, aerothermal.