Cor & Asociados reinvent the workplace for the Confederation of Employers of Albacete
The Confederation of Employers of Albacete (FEDA) is a nonprofit organisation representing and supporting the business network in the Region. Due to the evolution of its activities and growth of services, the organisation raised the idea of bringing together in a sole building all the installations that were scattered throughout the city of Albacete, Spain. The idea was the seed of this project.
Architects Cor & Asociados, Jesus Olivares + Miguel Rodenas have designed this project from the idea of ‘diffuse limits’ and ‘blur’ architecture. Their intention was to cover the volume of the building with a veil capable of blurring it and making it change. They wanted the building to react to the variations of weather and the movement of users with different levels of brightness and textures.
The design team details: “Looking at it from outside to inside, the skin would feel 'fleshy', full of shades and thick. And at the same time it would appear as a distant and undefined object, so that the observer doesn't have a stable reference, and could not keep a static link to the building and remember only an image. On the contrary the building would respond to the user in movement generating different glances and changing perceptions.
“In the opposite view, this second skin had to be perceived as a space with constant shape and without scale changes. Likely, the inner façade with the windows is the one able to defragment the building because the windows are very large compared to the human scale. This makes the user relate with the exterior skin, that has small scale holes and polimeric texture, in a closer way. But, again this feeling is distorted by the separation of the two layers. From inside, the perception of the façade system had to ‘fluff up’ the limits of the building.”
One of the most significant parameters at the architectural level has been the concretion of the program, its definition and characterisation and, in parallel, the opportunity for FEDA to upgrade their organisational processes.
Together with the directors, workers and users Cor & Asociados created a map of needs, and we did a rearrangement and reorganization of internal work processes. All this, permitted a spatial change: from a system of cubicles to a more open space floor, where the horizontality among self-managed teams is more evident, and helped with the implementation of technological informational and documentation systems.
This new organisation forced the project to solve two problems: first, the creation of a flexible and reprogrammable floors; second the adaptation of the working atmosphere. For the first problem a reticular structure with few columns was proposed, allowing a redistribution of the program according to the needs of the future; and second, a technical floor and ceiling that carries all facilities. This approach leaves the floors completely free for use.
Cor & Asociados, Jesus Olivares + Miguel Rodenas concludes: “This project works the relationship between the person and the building through the materials and conditioning, trying to improve the sensory and emotional perception of the workspace by its workers, members and visitors. This is a way of re-humanising architecture and, as far as we’re concerned, this is an obligatory step to rethinking workplaces.”