Barcelona: Social Security Offices by BCQ arquitectura

A glass box protected by a transparent metal layer

by Malcolm Clark
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The new office building of the Oficinas de la Seguridad Social (Social Security offices) of Barcelona, designed by BCQ arquitectura barcelona, is located in the historic centre. In its general appearance, it looks like a glass box, protected by a transparent metal layer that filters the light and the view.

The building consists of three different overlying volumes, which are slightly rotated from one another. The volume from the first to the fourth floor is aligned to Calle de l'Om and its rotation creates a large porch that emphasizes and protects the entrance of the building. This rotation, in addition to giving the offices an absolutely regular rectangular shape, which facilitates distribution and allows maximum flexibility, at the same time creates a larger space in the square beside it.

The third volume, from the fifth to the sixth floor, is generated by an intermediate rotation between the two directions defined by the two underlying volumes. The small size of this third volume compared to the lower one creates a terrace facing the sea, accessible to the users from the fifth floor.

The need for natural light is resolved with large windows protected by the incidence of sunlight directed through a continuous envelope of aluminium fins. The use of an arched structure, with pillars in front, provides open space floor plans organized from two vertical cores that leave the rest of the surface free. The compartmenting is performed with lightweight partition walls, so that the internal distribution is flexible in time.

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    Oficinas de la Seguridad Social 44

    Oficinas de la Seguridad Social

    Barcelona / Spain / 2011