H2O Headquarters - Barcelona, Spain

H2O Headquarters - Barcelona, Spain

Architect
Axis Mundi
Location
Barcelona, Spain
Category
Offices

H2O Headquarters

Axis Mundi as Architects

Our firm has been retained to propose a façade retrofit for H2O, which is a new bottled water company that has ambitious plans to distinguish their innovative brand.


The existing six-story building is situated on a busy intersection in Barcelona, close to Antonio Gaudi’s residential masterpiece – the Casa Mila.


The concept for the new façade is based on the interference patterns that are created by the flow of water surfaces. In physics, interference is the addition (superposition) of two or more waves that result in a new wave pattern.


We documented, categorized and studied light reflecting off the surface of flowing water in various conditions: in rivers, streams and ponds, for example. We ultimately selected an image that visually appealed to us the most – subtle ripples in a pond. That photographic image was then imported and modeled into a very precise 3d form; we cut sections and derived numerous wave shaped lines which we then placed around the perimeter of the building envelope. These sections were lofted between each other forming a rippled skin that we could control and adjust. The new skin was then duplicated and shifted slightly, and where they interpenetrated each other they formed overlaps, these intersections were then removed to create flowing shaped openings in a dramatic brise-soleil made from a phenolic composite material. This secondary skin acts as a highly identifiable marketing symbol for H2O.


Taking a cue from Gaudi, the interior of the building is pierced with two elliptically shaped voids that allow natural daylight to filter down into the offices.


The secondary façade which acts as a brise-soleil, is made from a phenolic composite material, and is suspended in front of the main building facade on organically shaped web trusses.

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