Honorable Mention | Public Building (Built)

Firm Name: Magen Arquitectos
Participant  Name: Francisco Javier Magen
Team Member: Francisco Javier Magen, Jaime Magen Pardo
Country : Spain

The building location has a special value based on the relationship between the built-up area of the city and the urban banks of the Ebro river, recuperated for the 2008 Expo.  The project is based on two fundamental ideas.  The first idea is in response to the special urban and landscape importance of the location, via a formal definition and configuration of the building that suggests an intense relationship with the landscape; the second aims to express the intrinsic relationship between the environmental commitment of the project and its materiality and the building programme.

The relationship with the adjacent urban spaces and the topographic features of the site become active conditions for the implementation of the building, making the levels of the different floors and entrances coincide with the already existing ones.  These relationships can clearly be seen in the project section that also expresses the extension of the public space of the entrance, via the roof and the configuration of the building as a platform-viewpoint onto the Ebro river.

Given the differences in level of the site, the main entrance to the building is on the upper floor, defined by the avenue.  This floor, which is for public use, houses the administrative spaces and the environmental classroom.  The main hall joins and separates both spaces, enabling them to be used independently.  The classroom is configured as a projection, both at floor and roof level, providing this space with 180º continuous panoramic vision, giving the impression that it is floating over the park.  The restricted access areas are located below the entrance level, in the basement.

The roof is an essential element within the landscape design of the building as well as the main image that the residential buildings, which look out onto the park from the town side, have of the building.  As an extension of the outer public space and accessed from the hall, the roof is configured as a viewpoint at different levels, which are joined together by gentle ramps and a terraced grandstand, designed as an outdoor amphitheatre for possible recreational uses.  On the other hand, the programmatic demand for a certain pedagogical character in the environmental commitment of the project, which can be seen in the choice of construction as well as energy solutions and materials, is clearly visible on the roof, with its ecological and landscaped decking, solar panels and photovoltaic panels, that provide electricity to convert the building, at night, into a lighthouse in the park landscape.

The proposal is the answer to a public need and to construct an urban landscape, to later, based on the construction and expressiveness of the materials, attend to those more sensitive and sensorial aspects of the material and physical condition of the building.  The contrast between the roughened, black tinted, concrete panel, with its different textures, and the upper level, with its continuous carpentry-free glass panels and wooden boards on façades and latticework, defines the formal configuration of the building.

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