SIDERAL

gon architects as Architects

SIDERAL is the answer to the assignment of recovering an industrial building built at the end of the 20th century, in an industrial estate in the southern outskirts of Madrid, near Mostoles, transforming it into an office and warehouse for an advertising delivery company. 

 

The spatial configuration of the building, which is a corner within an industrial urban fabric, was organized before the intervention in two levels, each one of them with numerous compartments joined, in the second floor, by a great opaque metallic cover that forced to have artificial light, located at the level of + 9,63 meters.

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In contrast to the idea of making the marked industrial character of the building disappear, the intervention has the will to recycle the space and to put it in value by recovering selected singular elements that, traditionally, have been part of the industrial landscape, found both in the previous space and in the collective imagination of this type of building, such as the spatial amplitude, the type of pavement, the lighting system or the use of materials such as steel, and thus continue with an existing language that is at the same time inherent to this type of building.

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In this way, the project, which seeks to satisfy the desire of the clients to have a diaphanous work space and a great storage system compatible with a symbolic and representative character of their company, reorganizes the building in two levels. While the first floor contains the reception area and the double-height warehouse, the upper floor has the offices, the meeting room and a rest area with a kitchen. 

 

The decision-making process to obtain the result of the new building is as clear as precise and focuses on a series of actions:

 

Emptying the space by eliminating false ceilings and partitions so that the original structure and volume of the building is visible. If the new vertical walls that divide the rooms are large floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for a new kind of transparency on the upper floor by enabling a total view from side to side of the offices, the replacement of the double carpentry of the windows on the façade with single-sheet windows facilitates the introduction of the exterior nature into the interior. 

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reconfiguring the interior silhouette of the roof with a saw shape that makes the space clearer and less monotonous. This new configuration of the roof, in addition to reinforcing the sequential character of the workplace, allows for a greater visual richness where the spatial compressions and expansions thanks to the peaks and ridges of the saw offer an architectural experience for both the everyday worker and the visitor. 

 

drilling holes in the north facade in order to introduce a constant light, without luminous variation, necessary to work. This light-space operation, which takes place both in the work area and in the office area, is materialized by the introduction of large skylights which, in addition to providing light, once again establish a visual connection between the interior and the exterior. 

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qualifying the ceiling by using a continuous reflective corrugated sheet that provides unity and luminosity to the offices. The entire ceiling of the upper floor is covered with an element of an industrial nature such as steel plate, which facilitates maintaining the originally industrial character and narrative of the building and separating it from the domestic character it would have had without it. 

 

A unique case with relation to the ceiling is the meeting room, where the use of the sheet metal is interrupted and replaced by a vertical garden arranged horizontally. This spatial situation marks a point of exception and seeks to build a different narrative to the rest of the space reserved exclusively for visitors to the centre. 

 

Like the ceiling, the floors of the building also seek to establish a dialogue of continuity with the space through the use of rubber rolls of different colours depending on the room (grey in the offices, green in the recreation room and yellow in the toilet) that contribute to recover the industrial character of the place. 

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and conditioning the office space by providing equipment that is flexible enough so that (almost) any work configuration is possible through a model that is based on a system and not on a design. As opposed to a cellular organization, the interaction of workers is sought through furniture that facilitates not only individual or group work but also encourages the relationship between workers.

 

These five actions build SIDERAL, a hybrid building type in the industrial landscape of Móstoles that operates through architectural logics of the present, joining the productive model of offices with other as necessary and contemporary as leisure, where the limits between work and life are diluted.

 

Credits 

Location Móstoles, Madrid, España 

Year 2020

Built area 600 m2

Client REPAPUBLI

Architecture gon (Gonzalo Pardo)

Team Alejandro Sánchez, Carol Pierina Linares, María Cecilia Cordero, Iván Rando 

Construction Serviteco Obras s.l

Furniture Lambda3

Ceiling vertical garden Mi jardín vertical 

Lighting Oliva s.l

Art production Puzzle Eventos s.l (Paula Delgado)

Photography Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán y Rocío Romero)

Published by: gon architects 

Combining Life and Work

Velux as Windows

Back to the industrial roots

 

gon architects, a mid-size architecture office founded in Madrid in 2014, derives its name from its charismatic founder, Gonzalo Pardo. The firm is active in many fields including exhibition design, refurbishments of apartments and house design on an urban scale. The office has won 41 awards, among them one in a VELUX competition. Gonzalo Padro’s engagement in research and education resulted in a doctorate and part-time teaching commissions at various universities across Europe.

 

The combination of academic and commercial activities results in a dynamic, innovative approach to design: Pardo’s doctoratal thesis on the transformation of kitchens and bathrooms fuels the uniquely creative take on domestic spaces. His close ties to the university led to the co-curation of the Spanish Biennal Pavillion of 2018 being transformed into a show on the future of Spanish architecture featuring student work.

photo_credit Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)
Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

Gon designs light drenched, vibrantly coloured spaces that emanate joy and lightness, providing pleasurable environments for its users. This is demonstrated in the new office spaces of Repapubli, a company dealing with the dispatch of newspapers and advertisements.

 

The Sideral building, as described by the office, “combines the productive model of offices with others as necessary and contemporary as leisure, thus blurring the border between work and life.”

 

Those blurred borders between work and life led gon to the commission: their constructor’s son is a football-team mate of the client’s son. After preliminary meetings and conversations, the work on the project has begun. Repapubli bought a building previously used as a bathroom appliances store in Mostoles, a satellite town of Madrid.

photo_credit Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)
Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

The façade, after the removal of disturbing add-ons, revealed its vernacular charm. A long opening on the northern façade provides the interior with steady daylight. The removal of a dense hedge increased the visibility of the building from the street. Those two low-budget measures were enough to signal a new business culture behind the old brick walls.

 

The contrast between the humble exterior and the bright, contemporary interior is a pleasant surprise for the visitors. Not only is the appearance modern, but also the layout. The client asked for a meeting room located far from the entrance because he wanted all the visitors to walk through the building. He is proud to show all spaces – the warehouse, offices, relaxation area – on the way to a spectacular meeting room featuring a plant-covered ceiling.

photo_credit Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)
Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

"The aim was to keep the industrial character of the building. To achieve this, we recycled the space by carefully renovating selected elements traditionally associated with the industrial landscape of spanish suburbs."
Gonzalo Pardo, gon architects

 

gon’s dedication to innovation turned out to be an interest they share with the young owner of Repapubli. The 30-year-old boss was convinced that an informal working environment, with meeting areas, ping pong tables filled with plants and daylight, has a positive impact on the well-being of the employees and the performance of his company.

 

“We wanted to keep the industrial character of the building while adding features necessary in a contemporary working environment. The biggest change in the existing structure was the introduction of daylight in the main space on the upper floor. We punctured the roof with an array of VELUX windows, gaining inviting office spaces under corrugated steel-clad inclined roof.”
Gonzalo Pardo, gon architects

 

The main attraction of the interior is the spectacular ceiling on the upper floor. The shape of the ceiling does not match precisely the outer form but rather amplifies the industrial characteristics of the place. Compressing the height in selected areas led to the creation of a space described by Gonzalo Pardo as an “architectural promenade.” Only the necessary walls have been introduced in an open floorplan, wherever possible, fully glazed. Islands of intense colour in the relaxation area and the bathrooms contrast with the white walls, like suns brightening up the space.

 

Corrugated steel surface reflects the light coming from VELUX windows and façade openings, thus contributing to the optimal daylight distribution in the interior.

photo_credit Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)
Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

“The narrative of an industrial building was developed and reinterpreted. We had to make clear decisions where to invest money within a modest budget.”

 

“Adding colours is an economic strategy that at the same time gives the interiors an optimistic character and energy.. Bright yellow is used in the relaxation area and also in the bathrooms which elevates the mood, while the grey paint in the entrance creates a trompe-'œil effect corner in the room.”

 

“We have worked with VELUX on numerous projects before, which gave us the know-how necessary to convince the client to invest in openable roof windows. They are crucial for obtaining fresh air in the interior. Thanks to them the heating and airconditioning system runs only on days with extreme weather, mainly in the wintertime. We have proven that good natural ventilation can work even during Madrid’s hot summer. We hope that the roof can be fitted with solar panels to reduce the energy consumption even further. I used VELUX windows for the first time in my house. Some of them are placed above an oversized bathtub. Together with abundant plants, they provide the house with fresh air, creating a holiday-like atmosphere in the middle of a big city.”

 

“My favourite place in the building is the lunch area. It combines all features I consider important in this project: the innovative approach to designing working environments, sun-like yellow, and the corrugated steel ceiling. I am obsessed with using corrugated steel for its aesthetics and the ability to reflect daylight.”

 

“The refurbishment revealed the building’s character by removing all unnecessary partitions and adding elements our collective imagination perceives as industrial, such as typical flooring, metal elements, or lighting fixtures. The introduction of VELUX windows quotes typical glazings of saw-tooth roofs. Although we used standard windows from the domestic VELUX line, we managed to achieve a slick, industrial look with them. ”
Gonzalo Pardo, gon architects

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