Hidalgo Hartmann Arquitectura completes rescue & research facility on the catalan coast
CRAM Foundation is an organisation dedicated to the protection of the environment and the species that inhabit it. Its main activity is the care and rescue of endangered marine species which vary the Catalan coast, for later reintroduction to the wild. The Foundation also carries out different lines of work in conservation investigation and education, all accompanied by social awareness campaigns on the state of the marine environment and its problems.
The new facilities for the CRAM Foundation are located in the old golf course in Prat de Llobregat's coastal corridor, with an area of approximately 20,000 sq m. The new building sits between the House Ricarda by Antonio Bonet Castellana to the north and the Club de Golf de José António Coderch and Robert Terradas to the south. Among such illustrious neighbours the project is situated from a position of respect, both to the existing buildings and the magnificent site, allied to merge into one indissoluble entity.
A centre without reference and a pioneer in Europe, the design incorporates the knowledge of CRAM to produce a facility that can effectively develop the three basic guidelines of the foundation: the care and rescue of marine protected species; the tasks of conservation, research and training and finally the social awareness campaigns on the state of the marine environment and its problems. The project seeks to balance the clinical program of research and the public program with the minimum possible means; a key factor in defining the architectural features and volume of the project as a whole. The decision was made to pursue an architecture that seeks the midpoint between functional status and its representative status as a public building. Each of the three buildings that make up the complex are expressed in a manner that reflects their function.
The clinical building appears as a building open to the landscape, permeable in the north-south and sealed in the east-west. A permeable green corridor, parallel to the sea with its two shelters, opens to the views exchanged between the users and visitors. The rest of the building is sunk into the ground in a manner designed to be representative of a surgical operation. The administration building recovers the old nursery to accommodate the administration functions, as well as the outreach and awareness programmes.
The postmortem studies building appears as a compact volume. Just across from the solid door in the hall, a window offers a view of the room where autopsies are performed on marine animals to find their cause of death and thus prevent them in the future. A room with lighting from the skylight overhead (on a tangent to the walls) gives the space a source of constant diffused light.