Executives learning in the middle of the forest

Monday 02 Nov 2009

Massive Corporate University reuses one school of the 60s in one hill next to Barcelona

Parc de Bell-lloc is a 122-hectare property situated on a hill, in the municipality of La Roca del Vallès. A large school was build on the peak of the hill in the 1960s. The 18,000 m2 building, designed by the architect Manuel Baldrich i Tubau.

The complex splendidly conserves the character of the time at which it was built, thanks to the quality of the materials used and the spatial layout, not forgetting the fluid relations between interior and exterior, define the atmosphere of the place and give it an unmistakeable character.

Telefónica Corporate University, UCT where it could hold continuing development programmes for its top management. In view of the breadth of the programme (180 bedrooms, 20 seminar rooms, a restaurant, cafeteria and lounges), as well as maintaining the original use of three of the existing buildings (classroom block, canteen and kitchens, and former residence), the firm decided to construct a new building to accommodate the main entrance and the bedrooms.

This new building, along with a structural intervention in the existing residence building, generates a large communal space on the ground floor that relates the classroom block with the residence. It provides a large lounge for the complex, furnished to encourage interrelation among the people staying there, one of the main objectives of the UCT.

The new building stands the same height as the existing construction, thereby maintaining a unitary cornice throughout the campus and ensuring that there was no strong visual impact.

The façades of the new building are devised of prefabricated panels of painted steel, glass and U-glass. The façades directly overlooking the landscape are given an outer skin made up of an irregular framework of sawn timber that gives the building a surface texture that makes it blend in with the nearby woods.

Intervention in the existing buildings was based on respect for Baldrich’s architecture, maintaining the façades and the compositions created by their openings. Inside, the layout is adapted to the present-day uses and technology required by the university.

The intervention was completed by attention to the campus’s outdoor spaces, restoring the rest of the gardens and maintaining the array of courtyards that, together with Baldrich’s rationalist architecture, characterize the Parc de Bell-lloc, producing a place steeped in a perfect combination of architecture, technology and landscape at the service of training, knowledge and human relations.

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