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Meetings under the trees in Spanish office

“A powerful re-purposing of a historic building into a beautifully crafted workplace environment,” Bob Fry, Judge

by Copy taken from 2023 entry 23 November 2023 2023 Sustainable Buildings

Project: Ombú

Award: Best Overall Sustainable Architecture Project, Gold, 2023

Location: Madrid, Spain

Architect: Foster + Partners


Ombú breathes new life into a historic industrial building, creating over 10,000 square metres of office space while unifying a mix of private and public land with green landscaping. The historic building envelope has been retained to conserve over 10,000 tonnes of original brick, while a lightweight structure made from sustainably sourced timber from local forests has been inserted inside the space, allowing for spatial flexibility and integrating lighting, ventilation and other services. A central skylight brings natural light to the interior, reducing the need for artificial lighting. The glazing also incorporates photovoltaic technologies that generate electricity. 

Design highlights 

Taking advantage of Madrid’s temperate climate, a new courtyard offers the option to work comfortably outdoors. The courtyard connects to a large 12,400 square-metre park with 350 trees featuring outdoor working spaces and areas for informal meetings sheltered by a green canopy of trees. The new green public space connects the building with the surrounding community and generates a positive social impact.


Photo credit: Nigel Young, Foster + Partners

Foster & Partners

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