A new umbraculum building combining technology and sustainability to organize the Roche campus in a renaturalized environment
The expansion of Roche's headquarters offers new work spaces of the highest quality and in relation to nature at its campus in Sant Cugat. An innovative proposal for being adaptable to changes and new ways of working, committed to technology and sustainable design.
An intervention that reorganizes the campus
The Roche complex is located on a 38,800 m² plot in the Parc d'Activitats Econòmiques de Can Sant Joan, where it is required to complement the capacity of the existing office building and provide the headquarters with new workspaces, as well as quality open spaces in contact with nature for the workers.
The proposal includes the construction of two buildings and a landscaping intervention with a large green roof of 3,500 m² that generates a point of union for all the buildings on the plot: a new space that becomes the great central square of the renovated Roche campus.
A green transformation
The garden that forms the central square replaces a former surface car park - where rainwater was treated as waste and asphalt and cars were the protagonists - creating a large landscaped green space. This, in addition to providing new quality outdoor spaces for campus users, is also the roof of the new car park.
The landscape as a place to stay and a connector
This new landscape, with its abundant vegetation, articulates the accesses and routes of the campus, welcoming users through an immersive experience in nature. Native Mediterranean woodland species have been planted in the natural area, close to a nearby stream, while ornamental species with low water requirements and adapted to the climate have been planted in the area immediately next to the buildings.
The multiple uses conceived for the user to enjoy this space, both in their work and leisure time, are enveloped in this nature. The central area is equipped with plant pergolas that provide shade, generating outdoor work spaces and eating areas, a platform over a large flowery meadow for directed activities and, taking advantage of the difference in topography, stands where events and presentations can be held. In addition, towards the natural area of Mediterranean forest, a small amphitheatre is incorporated, where small meetings can be held or rest, and a space for reflection and silence, the work of the artist Gonzalo Lebrija.
Water plays a very important role in this new biotope landscape. Tanks on the roof of the car park collect water for later use in the form of irrigation, and the permeable areas manage 100% of the rainfall with sustainable drainage systems. Two ponds together with a network of vegetated ditches and gravel ditches sheet, retain and infiltrate rainfall, enhancing the biodiversity of the designed landscape.
The new offices
The new office building is resolved in a compact volume of simple and clean geometries, responding to the functional organization of the building, which consists of two public floors that connect with the exterior spaces of the campus and three open-plan office floors.
Its orientation in the plot is studied taking into account ecological criteria, energy requirements, connectivity with the rest of the complex, its adaptability, etc. For this reason it is designed parallel to one of the boundaries of the plot following the south-north orientation, creating an ecological corridor along the project that links the natural spaces of the two streams adjacent to the campus.
The two vertical circulation cores are located at the ends of the floor plan, organizing the office floors around a central circulation axis. In a strong commitment to sustainable connectivity within the building, the staircases have been designed as healthy spaces that, in addition to complying with regulations, are easy to locate, intuitive and inviting to use. Their ceramic materiality filters natural light, bringing a spatial quality to the stairs and forming an attractive space that superimposes warm, natural and locally produced materials.
The building envelope is governed by the concepts of sustainability, energy efficiency and self-consumption, consisting of a green roof that improves the building's inertia and a double facade inspired by the traditional wooden louvers.
The façade solution consists of a double skin that adapts to each orientation in order to provide good solar protection at any time of the day. The outer skin is formed by steel frames that support acetylated wooden slats, while the inner skin is a modular glazed facade system.
The roof is conceived as a green extension in which the land mass, increased insulation and reduced reflectance serve as a thermal regulator of the building and help reduce the energy consumption required to achieve indoor comfort.
In addition, different strategies have been implemented since the design phase to make the Roche expansion a productive and environmentally responsible complex. Some of these strategies, in addition to those described above, include the production of energy through a large area of photovoltaic panels, the use and reuse of rainwater, and passive strategies to reduce energy demand.
An innovative structure optimizing the use of materials
The structure was built using the innovative Holedeck system, a system of unidirectional beams of in-situ reinforced concrete, lightened by means of perforations along their entire length. This solution allows the installations to pass through its interior, reducing a large amount of material compared to traditional concrete systems and thus optimising the use of materials in a functional and environmentally sustainable way.
This solution has meant a material saving in the floor slab of 50% concrete and 29% passive steel compared to a solution based on reinforced concrete slabs. This saving has led to a reduction in CO₂ emissions of 85 kg CO₂/m² (45%) according to the building's life cycle analysis. When considering the entire structure, this reduction is 57% higher, as the lightening of the floor slab also reduces the size of the pillars and foundations.
Domestic workspaces with a Mediterranean character
The work areas are organized in a diaphanous manner thanks to the Holedeck structural system, which offers large spans and a clean and rational spatial configuration. In addition, this solution makes it possible to obtain greater clear heights in the work spaces, reaching up to 3.68 m (10 ft).
The height of the partitions and other elements that define the work areas is limited to allow visual interaction and natural light to flow between the different spaces, avoiding monotony and favoring the free movement of users through the workplace.
Both the structure and the installations are exposed, respecting the authenticity of the materials. The interiors are based on constructive sincerity and the use of traditional local materials such as wood and ceramics to combine technology and sustainability with the domestic and close sphere.
Semi-buried parking lot with natural ventilation and lighting
To meet the parking needs of the complex's employees, a new semi-buried building was built under the large central plaza of the campus, reducing surface parking on the site and allowing this space to be used for landscaped areas for the enjoyment of its users.
The new building is adapted to the topography and has two fully underground floors and one semi-buried floor. The parking lot is delimited by two lateral courtyards and has an additional courtyard in a central position, which allows the development of a natural ventilation system. The implementation of this passive measure results in a very energy efficient building, as it limits the energy consumption dedicated to ventilation.