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Office sector strengthens as new buildings emerge in Madrid and Barcelona’s business districts

Spain Architecture News - Jul 15, 2021 - 23:59   4061 views

Office sector strengthens as new buildings emerge in Madrid and Barcelona’s business districts

In the midst of the pandemic changing the way people live including working patterns, companies are reconsidering newer concepts such as hybrid working, teleworking, mobile working, desk-sharing-all of which affect the way people use office space, rendering it somewhat almost irrelevant. However in Spain, office sector picks up pace as two new developments emerge.

'El Corte Inglés', Spain’s biggest retail and commercial chain with over 496 establishments all around the country, has ventured to the office sector with its 'Castellena 69', a 15,000 square-meter new office building located in Madrid. The company started off by purchasing this highly contested 13,000 square-meter plot of land, the last undeveloped plot in Madrid's financial and business hub, AZCA. After this purchase, various uses have been considered starting from expanding the current shopping center beside it to exclusive luxury homes and then a hotel. Finally, the company has chosen to carry out an office project.

Office sector strengthens as new buildings emerge in Madrid and Barcelona’s business districts

Rendered image showing building façade. Image © Lotoarchilab

British design and architecture studio Heatherwick Studio has been selected to design the office building in a competition culminated recently in which five other national and international firms have participated. This will be the first project of the studio in Spain.

'Castellana 69' incorporates a comprehensive sustainability strategy while also promoting a new vision for office design. Developed together with local practices CLK architects and BAC Engineering Consultancy Group, 'Castellana 69' features a green inner courtyard, establishing a connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. The design also hopes to humanize the working experience by creating spaces of flexibility and responsiveness to changing working patterns, thus responding to demand for newer ways of working. Moreover, the project is committed to the environment by using sustainable materials and natural resources, significantly reducing its carbon footprint compared to how much a typical office building would produce. 

Work on the project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022 and it will be ready in 2024.

Meanwhile in Barcelona, 'Meridiana Capital', an investment giant, is behind the city’s newest office building, the Smart building. Smart is an office complex situated in Barcelona’s technological district 22@ right next to the famous 19th century 'La Escocesa' factory with approximately 25,000 square meters of space and consisting of two buildings, one with 9 floors and the other 12.

 Aerial perspective of Smart showing a complex of two buildings. Image © JLL

Taking from its name, Smart aspires to be a benchmark of technology, sustainability and energy efficiency by incorporating various measures to its design and currently has the highest LEED 4 score among buildings in Barcelona. A few notable measures include technical and high-performance building envelope made of photovoltaic glass, thereby generating its own energy by capturing the sun's energy. Another feature is connecting to Districlima, a consolidated network of district heating and cooling with production plants that use steam coming from urban waste to energy plants and refrigerates the equipment with sea water. Having these, Smart is expected to achieve 10% in the reduction of CO2 emissions. It also aims to achieve 75% sustainable waste management, 32% energy savings and 45% water consumption. Ultimately, the complex through a mobile application, will allow reservation of parking space, a room for conferences or meetings, or enter the offices, among others.

"It will be a pioneering smart building that will offer the community a cultural and healthy agenda," says Cristina Badenes, corporate development at 'Meridia Capital'.

 Image showing view from the roof deck. Image © GCA Architects

Office sector strengthens as new buildings emerge in Madrid and Barcelona’s business districts

Interior spot perspective. Image © GCA Architects

The architecture studio GCA Architects has been in charge of the design of this complex. GCA, among sustainability measures mentioned, puts forth the importance of contextual design and urban integration, respecting the surrounding buildings as well using simple materials while keeping distinct building character.

Construction began in June of last year and is expected to finish in the summer of 2022.

Cover Image © Lotoarchilab