EUROPA-CENTER HIT Offices in Sant Cugat
Highly sustainable offices that will offer one square meter of green spaces for every 1.5 m2 of workspaces.
The Reial Automóvil Club de Catalunya (RACC) decided at the end of the nineties to unify its different headquarters and offices scattered throughout Barcelona in a single building. Given that most of the RACC's procedures are carried out in a non-face-to-face way, the centralization of its dependencies in a single building not only did not harm the accessibility to its services but could also give it an urban physical presence of which until then moment lacked.
The place chosen for the construction of the new headquarters was at the end of Avenida Diagonal, at the entrance to Barcelona from the B-23 and AP-7 motorways at the corner of Avenida Albert Bastardas. The site had a front to the Diagonal of about 60 meters that was later reduced to 37 meters and a front to Albert Bastardas of 80 meters that was later extended in a second phase to 200 meters. The steep slope of Albert Bastardas caused a difference in level between both ends of the four-story plot.
The project, which was carried out in two phases, basically comprised the premises of the club’s central offices plus its annex services (continuing education classrooms, dining rooms, etc.), a large internal parking area, and a gas station. The building was organized with the main entrance from Diagonal and a secondary entrance from Bastardas in the first phase and with another entrance at the opposite end in the second phase.
The gas station was located in front of Diagonal, basically designed to supply vehicles entering the city. The main challenge of the building was to solve the implantation of its important footage on a tremendously uneven plot, with a difficult relationship with the most important grade and with a great need for lighting given the type of program. To do this, we organized the available space in longitudinal prisms of different widths that alternated their built density and that ran along with the site in parallel to Bastardas. These prisms were themed giving each one a specific function in terms of the program, density, and even material. The two adjacent to the street and the neighbor and the central one were treated as patios that allowed the built-in prisms to be ventilated and illuminated. The rest were organized to house the work areas, vertical accesses, and facilities. This modular organization made it possible to easily solve the structure, solve internal mobility and clarify the operation of the facilities.
The connection between the various prisms was made through a system of bridges that regularly crossed the courtyards and linked the different programs. The facilities also crossed the courtyards to supply energy to each of the areas. The materiality of each of the prisms was related to its program. The work areas were closed with a curtain wall that externally appeared as a perfect vitreous volume. The glass module spanned from floor to ceiling of the plant and its supporting structure was hidden inside the building. The access areas were closed with horizontally modulated metal sheets and with minimal openings. The patios alternated the texture of the program they closed with the white concrete that served as a retaining wall for the margins.
In this way, the final image of the building, while still paying attention to the tectonics of its implantation that was evident in the sheets of white concrete that surrounded it, focused on the metal and glass treated in the way they are used in vehicles. , without resorting to formal anecdotes, but always attentive to the precision and rigor of automotive finishes. The gas station, incorporated into the general image of the building thanks to the folded concrete sheet, and the glass and steel prisms define the main entrance.
The second phase expansion of the building was carried out, as planned, on the extension site of Albert Bastardas. The vitreous prism that housed the work areas and the metal one that contained the entrances and services were extruded, leaving a wide landscaped strip in front of the street. New access at the end of the prism closed the operation. As if it were a skyscraper lying down, the RACC headquarters looks out and greets, serenely positioned at the entrance to the city.