The research centre has been built in a residential district, next to the bullring obligatory in so many Spanish towns. Varied plantings reflect the goals that will be pursued in the interior of the building, namely to provide nature with space in sprawling cities, both now and in the future. The building quite literally stands out due to the unusual formwork used for its fair-faced concrete façade.
Client: Stadt Badajoz
Architect: Daniel Jiménez + Jamie Olivera _ Arquitectos
Location: Avenida Antonio Cuéllar Gragera cv. Avenida de Pardaleras, E-06003 Badajoz
Seen from the east, the research centre can be seen to have three different heights that respond to the surroundings, which include two-storey housing estates, taller residential blocks, various civic facilities and also green open spaces. On this side the lush plantings stand out in contrast to the pale grey of the building volume. While the eye is getting used to the irregular and blurred-looking appearance of the fair-faced concrete façade, one realises where this effect comes from – from the mats of local brushwood used to create inexpensive formwork panels, leaving their imprint on the walls. This effect breaks the rays of the strong Spanish sun, and also means that the fair-faced concrete is not cold and aloof in effect as usual, but rather positively glints in the sun. Visitors wanting to go to the public parts of the research centre walk through the covered part of the garden to the foyer, the location of a reception desk, a multi-purpose hall and large display screens that update constantly to show the energy-savings made by the building. This is to increase awareness of sustainability in terms of energy usage. In an atrium that can also be reached from the ground floor, rainwater is collected in a basin for use in underfloor heating and cooling. An ingenious solar system developed in collaboration with the University of Extremadura enables the building to fill its own energy requirements, thanks also to Trombe (passive solar) walls and the lattice girder roof structure. Acting as a sun baffle, the lattice girders not only support the glass roof but are also of a depth that protects the interior by reducing the effect of the sun's glare. The foyer also provides access to the other parts of the building, all allocated differing functions. Stacked offices and laboratories form the higher sections that can be seen on the outside. By choosing such a vertical orientation the architects have managed to keep the building's footprint as small as possible, thus enabling them to provide the grounds with a garden space. This includes examples of seven local biotopes, all of them self-sustaining thanks to their differing exposure to the sun, and other appropriate conditions.