With a large focus on developing a knowledge based economy within Spain, the emergence of the biotechnological industry within the Madrid Region has proved to be one of the most important centers of Life Science Research and Development (R&D) in Europe- a place where pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, biotech related companies, hospitals, research centers, universities and financing agencies meet and cooperate.
The high level of private investment and Government funding in research and development, as well as in education, have provided Madrid with a solid infrastructure, fully integrated in the field of European research. Biotechnology despite being the most urban of high technologies and requiring a sustained physical presence, as well as a face to face relationship with the universities, hospitals, and governmental entities, has however been positioned along the periphery of the city center of Madrid forming self contained ‘science parks’. These isolated research bodies have no public interaction and their research and advancement in various fields remains within the confines of the laboratory.
We believe the urban transformation that will follow the introduction of the new high speed terminal as a tremendous opportunity for the ‘prolongacion de la de castellana’ area to establish its own identity as well as serve as a gateway to the city at large. With a large percentage of residential and commercial space being allocated within the new masterplan, we propose a hybrid building that primarily contains a large scientific research and development area, as well as an exhibition space that highlights the research work produced within the building, allowing for the public to see the back workings of the laboratory spaces. Sited adjacent to the hospital and metro station and within a five minute walking radius from the main high speed terminal, the exhibition cum research laboratory is easily accessible to both the public as well as the researchers.
The interior of the building is established primarily through the pragmatic functionality of a laboratory, dividing spaces with respect to natural light requirements, heat sensitive spaces as well as the mechanical systems required for wet and dry labs, along with segregated HVAC systems for certain laboratories such as the vivarium. The residual spaces on each floor plate begin to dictate placement of the exhibition spaces with a larger floor space on the lower levels as a dedicated gallery space which then begins to branch out into smaller corridor like spaces on the upper level – where the workings of the laboratory and the mechanical systems are on display, resulting in an undulating spiral within the building that contains the exhibition spaces surrounded by the laboratories enveloped within a double glazed façade with a pattern fritted onto the exterior glass- a pattern which responds to the amount of light required in each space.
The energy consumption for a laboratory building being five times greater than a regular building, it was important for us to have a sustainable approach where by water collection systems are incorporated making use of rain water collection as well as grey water recycling within the laboratory. The water collected throughout the landscape too was used for passively cooling the entire building.
The 50,000sqm, 60x80x80 meter massive building block, establishes itself as a unique building type- a ‘potato’ typology, whereby it maintains its individual presence due to its large monolithic scale without competing with the neighboring skyscrapers.
Status: School Project