Grupo Santander Corporate Offices
Parque Batille Heritage District, Montevideo, Uruguay
Gustavo Vera Ocampo / BVO ARQ Martín Boga / BVO ARQ Julia Pereda / BVO ARQ César Reisch / BVO ARQ Carla Ribas / BVO ARQ
Arq. Gonzalo Simeone, Arq. Juan Tiscornia / Alpha Construcciones (Construction Company) Ing. Marcio Marella, Ing. Eduardo Pedoja / Marella & Pedoja Ingenieros Estructurales (Structural Engineer) Ing. Alejandro Curcio (Hidraulic Engineer) Arq. Soledad Suanes (Lighting Designer) Walter Araújo / Nytro S.A. (Electrical Project) Ing. Néstor Giagante / Dobarro & Pichel (HVAC Project)
The initial design phases, while responding to the given functional requirements and developing a specific formal project, considered and implemented the social, economic and environmental perspectives that define sustainable architecture. The building itself is a simple, regular three-storey volume, with a break at the corner at ground floor level and a generous covered area to mark the entrance. The aluminium curtain wall regulates sunshine through variable settings and contributes to energy efficiency. To that effect the wall, made up of over a thousand thermal panels (DGU), has been equipped with sunscreens. Ten different types of glass have been used and the flexibility of the system allows for variable solutions depending on the aspect and purpose of each room and the colouring or silk-screening chosen for each pane of glass. Where the thermal panels are transparent, venetian blinds in four different shades of green provide for interior brightness control. The simplicity of the structure and the detailed study of each element made it possible for construction to take place as planned and without incident over an eleven-month period, and the strict schedules required by the client were met. Previously-agreed budgets were adhered to and no additional costs were incurred.
Towards the end of the 20th century Montevideo's historic city centre began to lose importance in favour of other districts which in themselves became new urban centres. This process by now probably irreversible, acquired far greater significance in the last decade. Administrative, financial, commercial and even government offices (due in part to the process of decentralisation of the municipal authority) chose to move away from the centre. There was no new growth as such: the new buildings were scattered throughout the lower-density neighbourhoods. In the present case, a company which operated from the heart of what the 19th-century development plan had called ciudad novissima, took the decision to relocate to the Parque Batlle heritage district, a central area where the morphology is practically suburban. In this area, the urban landscape features a consolidated ensemble of two and three-storey residences of considerable urban significance and substantial gardens; the reds and terracottas of the brickwork and roof tiles intermingle with the vibrant greens of the exuberant botanical varieties in Parque Batlle. The park was laid out early in the 20th century on designs by Carlos Thays along the outer rim of the ciudad novissima, at the end of its principal avenue, and was intended as a "green lung" for the city.
The pulsating, dynamic enveloping wall offers both the users inside and the surrounding neighbourhood a very particular image, providing a feeling of ownership and identifying each individual space with the object as a whole. The two color schemes merge into the views from inside and outside the pavilion. The exposed concrete structure, slightly inset from the facade line and explicitly apparent in the triple-height columns and beams, enables a permanent perception of the flow of space parallel to the enclosing walls and gives continuity to each enclosed area as part of the whole multicoloured volume, while also stressing the horizontal rhythm. Workspace quality is achieved by responding to the users' needs; functional requirements are met while providing distinct identities to each space. The size and organisation of the working areas are determined on the basis of the specific tasks carried out, with the necessary acoustic and HVAC requirements duly attended to. The building has shown great flexibility and adaptability to the reorganization requirements raised.