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Basque Health Department Headquarters

Built | 2008 | Bilbao | Offices, Health, Community | The new Basque Health Department headquarters is located at the last site that still remained unbuilt on the central administrative and business district of Bilbao. Up to now, the institution was suffering the spread of its staff in several buildings, hardly recognizable by citizens, away from each other and uncomfortable for both users and technical services. The aim of the new building is bringing together staff in a recognizable place, in order to increase the efficiency of the service and identify easily the corporation. The project at the same time involves both economic and property profits.
The site is located in the crossroad of two important streets of the Ensanche neighborhood, designed in 1862. The restrictive city rules compel to repeat the shape of the neighboring walls, reducing penthouses according to a curved directive, chamfering the corner and building a tower on it.
The folded façade generates multiple visual directions from inside to the streets bellow, and also from the highest floors to the landscape that surrounds the city, a highly effective mechanism for the incorporation of urban vitality inside the building.
The double façade solves not only all the mentioned urban requirements but also those concerning energetic, fire-resistant and acoustic insulation. This climatic improvement enables the elimination of the conventional air-conditioning installation as well as the false ceiling. Thus, the sound produced by the building is reduced, air recirculation in workplaces disappears, with a significant increase of health conditions, and the volume occupied per floor is also reduced, saving resources consumed by the construction.
The façade responds to the investigation launched in the previous projects, which considers the wrapper as a system. The construction techniques, the operation of the building, the energy exchange, the city and also the very fact, the desire to be... take part in the system definition, but never the elevation or the composition. The system must provide a valid response to the different situations generated in the façade. Instead of merely set the building on the one hand and shaping the urban space on the other, the façade system should become a social vehicle.
The building concentrates services and communications in a vertical spine attached to the longest party hedge and generates seven open floors assigned for offices. Above this, there are two floors for local representative and institutional use. The workspace benefits of the permeable, passable and livable volume of the building. The board hall takes up the double height of the tower. The auditorium, its foyer and its appendages are situated in the first basement. Further below there are two parking floors and one fourth level for archives. The car elevators allow access to all the basement levels.
The project emphasizes the place to sit on the threshold, at the doorway of a house, looking down the road and the back into the home.

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