Featuring bar volumes which seemingly float, cantilever over one another, the project provides laboratories, offices for employees/students, and educational spaces while harboring an open and communicative environment. The free roof areas generated from the offset stacking of the modules are planted with grass or conceived as roof terraces of every other floor creating passages of circulation. We approached the site conditions by having largely open to the environment with floor to ceiling triple glazing in the core, the design of the center encourages transparency in all directions. The mechanical spaces including ducts and piping were purposely avoided in the walls to limit communicative barriers. With the aim of operating the building’s activity in a carbon neutral manner, sustainable components have been integrated into the design: by inclining the operable interlocking glass facades of the upper floor offices downwards, the building creates self-shading through the strategy to reduce the heat input from the sun. The triple-glazed windows feature automatically-adjusting louvers that shade according to the sun’s position. The approach to achieve net using was using the algae and its cultivation, that consists of a powerful source of energy, and effective water cleaning system and captures great amounts of CO2 (essential for growth), emitting at the same time O2. The algea is cultivated in photobioreactors which are allocated throughout the building which recieve the most amount of solar radiation year-round. The architectural concept is guided by the underlying theme of communication. The open, angular steel construction consists of supports stacked on top of each other. Every floor is laid out differently and has unique intersecting points with other modules to create spaces of program to blend together.
This fundamental principle is based as a strict regularity: in the four corner points, where the “office beams” meet are the core zones though which access is provided to the entire building. Here the elevators and stairs link various floors with each other. This gives rise to natural communication zones where employees’ paths cross, in these zones there are cafes, meeting rooms and trainging rooms. Seating islands invite people to sit down and exchange ideas. The load-bearing structure is subdiveded by the office arrangements into different sections, so that every office has a unique facade section.
Status: School Project
Location: St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
My Role: Collaborative Designer
Additional Credits: Jesus Urciaga