Germina Foundation is an organization that works with children and young people at risk of social exclusion, caring for them, monitoring and reinforcing their education, and providing educational support for their training and future entry into the labor market.

Project Name: Greifswalder Office Building
Architect Name: Tchoban Voss Architekten

Germina Foundation. by b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos - Sheet4
© MARC GOODWIN

This monitoring process, which aims to build a bond by engaging participants through complementary programs from the moment they arrive as young children up until their entry into the workforce, needed to have a space where it could accommodate its three key age groups in three areas that could be either connected or independent. The program for the building also had to house the organization’s administrative staff.

The purchased site, located in a low-income neighborhood in the city of Badalona, included the ground floors of two existing buildings and a small unbuilt plot between them. This three-part configuration allowed for a logical, sequential layout for thelocal organizations through workshops, courses, and other social activities are also among the foundation’s aims.

Germina Foundation. by b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos - Sheet6
© MARC GOODWIN

Improving the neighborhood’s social fabric, community action, and collaboration with program -children, adolescents, and youths- plus a central hub shared by all three (kitchen and play areas) and the spaces for the organization’s management staff.

Despite  the  fragmented  plan,  it  seemed  appropriate  to  create  a  sense  of  unity throughout the interiors, not only in physical but also in visual terms. Accordingly, against the dividing walls with no natural light, a large articulating furniture element (server) spans all three programs (receivers), creating a solution for the myriad needs for each space in one single gesture.

Germina Foundation. by b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos - Sheet7
© MARC GOODWIN

Three programs were set out in the central six-story construction: shared spaces (next to the main entrance and acting as a hinge joining the three venues), a youth area (in the middle levels) and, on the upper floors, the administrative offices (removed from the Barcelona children’s activities). The three large boxes piled up on two levels are pierced in such a Calvet 55 bajos way as to offer perspectives of landscapes that help enrich the interior and exterior spaces, endowing them with character while also conveying an airy feeling and providing a play on scale expressed in the facades, deliberately venturing away from residential Madrid

The two outdoor spaces, which will be steadily landscaped over time, are separated from the surrounding urban area by a wire fence which provides safety for the children inside while also fulfilling the architectural need for keeping the façade aligned with the street.

Germina Foundation. by b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos - Sheet10
© MARC GOODWIN

The duality between a comforting interior space -intended to provide a second home in which children will feel well cared for- and the building’s location in a run-down urban environment; and between a warm, domestic space and the need for austerity -budgetwise as well- that would use few added or superfluous ornaments to reflect the serious activity to which it is devoted, suggested the contrast between an organic presence in the interior -wood- and a more austere outer appearance -concrete.

The wooden joinery, the south-facing retractable awnings, the roof garden, the use of low-impact materials and highly efficient facilities, among other features, allowed the building to receive an A energy certification and a Very Good international rating from Breeam.


b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos

B720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos, a studio founded in 1997 by Fermín Vázquez and Ana Bassat, produces contemporary architecture committed to the responsible use of natural resources.

The coherence of the firm’s work is based on a distinctive way of working that deliberately avoids the development of a particular style or formalistic approach. Each project emerges from the search for a specific solution, with clients and society as essential reference points. The response to the programme, context, budget and time constraints is necessarily unique.

With  offices  in  Barcelona  and  Madrid,  in  b720  are  involved  more  than  thirty professionals. A diverse and multidisciplinary team developing projects of national and international reference projects for their architectural quality. The objective of which is to promote an architecture that improves the lives of people, organisations and cities, promoting sustainable architecture.

The studio, with more than twenty years of history, has developed emblematic projects at the national and in international level. Among those that stand out are Mercat dels

Encants of Barcelona, the Lleida Airport, the Pavilion of the Universal Exhibition of Milan, the Gran Casino Costa Brava or the ITAIM Tower. Collaborations with international studies, are part of the DNA of the study and works such as the Agbar Tower, with Jean Novulle Atelliers, the Porta Fira towers with the collaboration of the Japanese studio Toyo Ito or Veles e Vents in Valencia with David Chipperfield Architects.

Currently, b720 is developing the project of the new Camp Nou stadium with the Japanese company Nikken Sekkei, and remodelling the headquarters of the Bank of Spain to Barcelona.

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