Starry starry night

27 Oct 2011

Van Gogh and Hokusai inspire colour in this mediterranean plaza

Plazarte is the result of a programme of offices into which commercial and educative uses are introduced. The project, completed in September 2011, arises on the edge of the city of Murcia with the intention of being an autonomous entity on a functional level and an architectural symbol for the city.

Murcia has its roots in the valley of the Segura river and its current growth is centred around a diagonal axis that crosses the orthogonal structure and will connect the city with the university campus. At the point where this axis meets the western access to the city from the 'Mediterranean route' highway, Plazarte is introduced.

The project is a gateway to the city and as such a reminder of the original way of access through walled gates. The scale of the site is what determines the cyclopic concrete structure of its northern façade. On the other side, the connection with the smaller urban tissue of the city's edge is made gradually, by means of two pedestrian ramps that lead to the central square: Plazarte, the heart of the project.

Around this square the volumes that contain the functional programme arise. First, connected to the city, the kindergarten and the ophthalmologic clinic. Along the edges leading up to the office tower, two commercial spaces tie the project together formally through a series of folds in their collective roof.

The office tower, a volume that is folded to control the sun's radiation, faces a view of the city and the mountain behind it. A spacious entrance hall brings the square into the heart of the building, up to the elevator cores. From this point, the lines that determine the pavement of the square and the outlines of the volumes set out, focusing on the relation of the complex with the urban tissue behind it.

Under the square, a podium of two subterranean floors houses services such as parking, gym and spa, that are illuminated by a large linear courtyard from which the tower arises on the north side. The kindergarten, which is also a symbol for the project, is centred around a rhombus-shaped courtyard, which forms the surrounding spaces and functions as a thermal regulator of a project that takes full advantage of solar energy and thermal insulation.

The outer walls of the kindergarten are made as a mosaic of enamelled bricks, that show us well-known images like van Gogh's Starry Night and Hokusai's Great Wave Off Kanagawa.

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