EMBA get to the point...

Tuesday 05 Jul 2011

Gleaming white corporate tower in Barcelona by EMBA converses with public realm through open ground floor volume

The position of Diagonal ZeroZero Tower is exceptional: it is located at the origin of Diagonal, Barcelona's main avenue; it is very visible from the city and from the coast; and it lays on the border between the consolidated city and the large expanses of public space in the Forum area. Its immediate surroundings consist of isolated buildings in a diverse context of different scales and uses that generate at the same time a metropolitan centre and a local neighbourhood still in formation.

It is a contextual tower that has a double reading, from near and afar, in response to the two scales that such tall buildings must address. Taking the urban directions that form the perimeter of the plot as generators of its form, it is a trapezoidal prism, sharp and stylised, a clean and serene form, whitish and light, which reveals dynamic volumes that respond to the different specificities of the interior programme and relate to the various heights of nearby buildings. The exterior responds to the city and the view from afar, and the interior responds to the program and the close-up vision.

The corporate programme that the tower hosts has a major public part that will connect it to urban flows, situated on the ground floor, which actually comprises three interrelated levels, around an atrium 40m high that follows the slope of the adjacent Plaça Fòrum. This direct visual and physical continuity with the city will help the tower benefit from civic activities and will facilitate citizens to participate and enjoy the activities in the building.

Inside the tower four singular points make the ensemble dynamic and generate a variety of interior experiences despite being a relatively conventional programme of corporate headquarters: the main lobby atrium, facing Diagonal; an atrium on the 17th level that goes all the way up to the top of the building, facing the Maresme coast; the terrace and the double height the Board Room, located on the 23rd floor; and the auditorium, which occupies two floors and is split into an orchestra and two amphitheatres that can operate autonomously for smaller groups.

The upper floors are open-plan office spaces, taking advantage of the structural system, a tube-in-tube scheme, with a bearing central core and a perimeter structure along the façade. The perimeter structure is split into two parts: very small and slender vertical interior pillars that only take compression stresses, and external elements that bear horizontal forces and torque. These create a diamond lattice facade that follows the stresses of each part of the building, with the greatest concentration of bearing elements in the lower half and less so in the upper parts. The floors are solid concrete slabs that transmit these horizontal forces to the central core.

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