SOMOS.arquitectos proposal for a new office building in the area around Zaragoza high-speed train station .

From the first moment, the competition regulations put special emphasis on the obligation to KEEP THE BUILT VOLUME of the given block. This decision establishes the required framework for a dialogue with the neighboring buildings that form a new urban front on behalf of the general planning that organizes and directs the future area named “Digital Mile”. The competition site is located at the beginning of a development willing to generate a homogeneous urban landscape. In such a dense urban fabric, it seems appropriate to free up the ground floor level as much as possible, offering the public a relaxing, calm and friendly realm, an intermediary space. Under the powerful volume that forms the head of the whole urban complex, we propose a small public square intermingled with commercial spaces and access to offices. As opposed to the typical ground floor level completely filled up with program and isolated from the urban context, our solution provides flexibility and dynamism, moving away from biased interventions or those other depleted by univocal approaches widely used in the new urban extensions. 

The urban tissue where the site is found belongs to the typical expansion grid made up of square blocks, with a street system of variable widths. At the back of the building, we find a compact and dense urban development. The opposite facade opens into a new park undergoing an international competition process. Given the scale of this site, a powerful and seamless volume within the parameters set in the contest seems to be an appropriate response. Following the same decision, we would rather define a unified and homogeneous façade that envelops the entire volume, which can afterwards be locally qualified in relation to each specific orientation. 

The façade has a single geometric pattern. It uses different series of standardized modules which by repetition end up covering the entire surface: 
     1.- In the Northeast orientation, the views, the solar gain and the noise protection prevail. Thus, it has a double skin of glass: to the outside the glass surface is bigger, the colored circles help creating the perception of a single volume without blocking sunrays.
     2.- In the Southeast orientation, solar protection is the most important issue. Thus, this double skin is modified by replacing the outer glass layer with perforated aluminum panels following the same geometrical pattern already used in the opposite façade. 

Each floor proposes a single free space, thanks to structural and facilities cores that constitute the “hardware” supporting each slab. On the edge, in tune with the spirit behind the lightweight façade, we propose a small-scaled structure using circular section pillars arranged at close distance. Distribution of each one of the different office spaces is regulated by the use of common flexible double height volumes that open to the façade and work as thermal and acoustic diaphragms. Such spaces are revealed in the facade glazing through veiling, qualifying without interrupting the overall surface.