Offices for the Principality of Asturias

Competition | First Prize

Gijn. Spain | 2006

Government of Principality of Asturias

The Office Building for the Principality of Asturias in Gijón is proposed from the possibility of providing a new public space for the city. A square inserted in an urban fabric through a single gesture, with a small non-residential structure and landscaped forest bordered by a wall of offices. Ultimately, a natural refuge, a meeting place, and a place of work disconnected from the excessive urban dynamics. 

The configuration of a space with these volumetric characteristics requires careful reflection about its borders. These should, insofar as possible, merge with the surrounding city, be permeable to public and employees, as well as representative of the institution they house. The opportunity to build in such a unique location on Constitution Avenue inspires a response of equal enthusiasm with two substantial gestures: on the one hand, through a vertical volume which catches the eye from the long distance perspective of the Avenue it comes out to; and on the other hand, locating the access to the new garden and the buildings bordering it at the vertex where it meets the same. Gate and threshold become univocal and explanatory gestures of the intervention. 

Regarding materiality, a facade that comes from the formal memory of the surroundings is proposed, creating a unified esthetic. In keeping with the coastal architecture of Northern Spain, a typical solution of a glass enclosed balcony will be adopted to build a glass enclosure of the garden-square. Its arrangement is determined with a language absent of irregular gestures and signs conceived outside the laws dictated by urban form. The choice then is to express the structural order, which is manifested on the exterior through a modulated skin. The result of all this is a perceptive envelopment –regulated, even, ruled–, a panoptic space, uncontaminated by extravagant forms or ordinary solutions. A continuous skin whose glass surfaces will cause, thanks to their specular effects, a volumetric expansion, providing a kaleidoscope effect that will dissolve the constructed limits.

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