The seven interconnected low-rise units that integrate Ciudad BBVA in Madrid gravitate around the 100-meter diameter plaza presided over by La Vela: a 93-meter high-rise that has already claimed a spot in Madrid’s skyline. The BBVA City is a complex of 114,000 m2 of offices and services. BBVA City’s flagship building was designed by architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. It was built in 2015. The headquarters had to project strength, quality, efficiency and commitment to the environment, but above all, it had to be a project designed to improve the comfort of people.
The project BBVA in Madrid achieved a LEED Gold certificate. The climate control is designed with 49 000 m2 of the glass facade with an argon gas chamber to insulate heat from direct solar radiation. The chilled beam system uses 11% less energy than conventional systems. To reduce the heat island effect there are around 30 000 m2 of green spaces, along with 100 000 low water use plants such as bushes, over 400 hanging plants, 490 trees, and the buildings have green roofs.
Efficient energy lighting with LED saves around 30% energy savings. Another 60% of energy can be saved by using monitoring systems and natural light regulation. There are BMS system for monitoring and remote control equipped with controls of presence, lighting, and ventilation with CO2 sensors. The renewable energy is provided by 20 wells, each 100 meters deep, to obtain geothermal energy. And there is above 1 500 m2 of thermal and photovoltaic solar panels installed. Water conservation is secured by collecting rain and using 100% of the water for irrigation. And 100% of the water is recycled.
A linear structure of three-story buildings, with courtyards, passages and irrigated gardens, is laid over the entire site – which has a steep slope – like a carpet, analogous to an Arabian garden. The low-rise arrangement fosters communication: instead of taking elevators, people walk upstairs that encourage informal exchange; maximised visual transparency gives everybody a view and generates a sense of community; while the relatively small units permit employees to identify with their particular workgroup. The aim was to create an inward-looking oasis in this otherwise anonymous urban landscape, a place that establishes a balance between the natural and the built and that functions both like a small city and a big garden.
The architect states: “It is a raw architecture, one where the structure is prominently expressed. It is a design that is informed by the strong influence of the solar conditions, which ultimately results in a southern type of architecture. Along with the rather narrow inner gardens and streets, concrete columns and cantilevering floor slabs provide shade to prevent excessive sun, which reduces demand for air conditioning. The full height but recessed glazing provides good daylight conditions in the offices to minimise artificial lighting.”
A southern type of architecture: “Along the periphery of the complex we developed brise-soleils that are fixed in between the floor slabs. Unlike the prominent modern references, these are cut out in the lower part at an angle to provide more view and daylight where protection is needed least- resulting in the figurative element that varies in direction and size according to the solar angle and program. The sloping site creates another subtle yet influential consequence on the facade as the brise-soleils adjust in height.”
Find more information and photos about this building BBVA in Madrid at Arch Daily.
Are you interested in new technologies for the facade of tall buildings including BBVA in Madrid, read the research paper on “Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP): A New Material Used in Façades of TallBuildings”.
La Vela, the name chosen for the 93-meter 19-floor elliptic high-rise, has been designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Read more about La Vela is the BBVA’s new architectural landmark in Madrid.