The design of the building for the corporate group Transoceánica, responds to the requirement to implement a system of energy efficiency orientated towards improving the quality of workspaces and adopting a respectful attitude towards the environment.
During the development of the project, the assignment was orientated first of all towards the client’s requests and then the building became part of a master plan made in Germany by the planning office Krause Bohne GmbH, which defined the layout of the site and the use of curved forms, integrating the future development into the other office buildings. The energy concept of the building, with an emphasis on climatic conditions, as well as electrics, lighting, sanitary facilities and central control, was developed by the German office Bohne Ingenieure, as a joint collaboration to define design concepts and for the architecture to achieve the required sustainability goals. The building site, in front of the Lo Castillo Aerodrome, determined the constructional limits, the ground footprint and the maximum height of the project on the terrain of generous proportions.
This led to a three-level office building and two underground parking levels, composed of a main body with a large, full-height hall providing access to two wings of open-plan offices, plus an independent unit in the north housing the auditorium and casino, integrating into the building and the site by means of an external awning. The shape seeks to optimise orientation towards the sun, favouring natural light and affording views of the exterior from every interior space. The façades are treated carefully to avoid unwanted thermal gain or loss.
It was interesting to guide a process determined by formal restrictions and the use of new technologies, incorporating views and characteristic architectural elements, reinforcing the role of the architect as the director of a multidisciplinary process designed to provide better places to live in.
The evaluation and determination of the energy-efficiency system was incorporated during the design stage, encompassing passive systems, active systems and renewable energies. The passive systems comprise design elements such as location, orientation, solar control systems, the use of natural light, renewable materials, local plants, deck insulation, facades, thermal analysis etc., in order to reduce energy consumption before elaborating the design of technical systems. This does not incur significant additional costs.
As an example, this implied a façade design in layers composed of DVH crystal and a system of automated awnings on the exterior, complemented by a wooden casing as protection from radiation. The efficiency is orientated towards the welfare of the users, rather than towards lower energy consumption. Acoustic analyses were incorporated to optimise the quality of spaces through the choice of appropriate materials.
The active systems comprise the design of technical elements such as artificial lighting, the indoor climate, ventilation, water use and heating, equipment selection etc., for example implementing indirect lighting that compensates for any lack in natural light. The cooling and heating consists of a capillary system in polypropylene, installed under slabs in the layer of gypsum plaster, with cooling improved by the temperature of surfaces, reducing the demand on the air temperature. Air is renewed by a ventilation source, incorporating fresh air at a low speed through the floor, which rises by convection when heat emanates from persons, equipment etc., which is then recovered. The success of this system depends on a monitoring system, recording and analysing all the information within the building. This led to the design of a central control system that enables adjustments and overall performance increases of 20% over an estimated period of three years. Apart from the internal control unit in the building, the projects can be monitored via Internet from the engineering office in Germany in charge of the energy concept.
Renewable geothermal energy was incorporated through the extraction of water from a well 75 metres deep, with a constant temperature of 12°C, which is used to cool the air and capillaries through heat exchangers.
At the end of the design stage, although ideally it should have been at the beginning, the development of the project was compared with the LEED scoring system, showing significant compliance and launching the certification of the project, aspiring to the LEED GOLD category, confirming good energetic and environmental practices.