The conversion of an existing office block located in Madrid to form the corporate headquarters for ONO – one of Spain’s largest broadband and communications companies – was a task undertaken by architects Ana Díaz and Javier Álvarez from ACXT.
The need for renewal of an office block located in a suburb in the north of Madrid was perceived as a chance to make the most out of an underused building. ACXT used a simple blueprint for their redesign; decontextualise the structure, organise the internal space and reconnect the structure to its surroundings. All of this needed to be achieved on a very tight budget. Externally the building was hardly perceived in a comprehensible way. It was a compact volume without a clear focal point due to the main entrance accessed from a small, steep side street, perpendicular to the main road. The entrance was changed and the building was opened on its most visible corner, breaking the facade’s uniformity. In front of the ceramic clad facade, a series of galvanized vertical slats of varying opacity have been added to create a solar shade. These are connected to a series of galvanized horizontal catwalks which also aid in reducing solar gain. The readapted facade improves the building’s thermal properties and greatly enhance its appearance without making major structural changes to the building. The internal space has been given a more logical footprint so that office and operational spaces are separated. This led to the M & E areas being concentrated on the lower ground floor and basement, with the upper floors now housing the offices. Partitions and screens were done away with on the upper floors and reorganized as open plan offices allowing natural light to flood the work spaces. The courtyard, in the past only accessible for maintenance, and occupied by machinery, was another focal point of the redesign. It has been changed to become an urban space within its own right. The patio walls have been clad with lighter coated ceramic plates to provide reflected light into the spaces that overlook it. A whole series of minor interventions have succeeded in not only creating a viable building but also one that sits more comfortably within its environment.
Architect: Javier Alvarez & Ana Diaz
Image: Javier Alvarez & Ana Diaz