Proposal for the Interdisciplinary Research Center of Alcalá, CI2A.

We are very excited to share with all of you our proposal for this research center, made in team with MADC.

The competition called for a building to house an institute of organic chemistry and an institute of medicinal chemistry in the scientific campus of Alcalá de Henares, Madrid.

The plot had a pre-existing project for a research center. The site is not well connected in terms of transportation and the implementation of private vehicles is one of the main challenges together with the pre-existence of the foundations and part of the basement of the previous project.

We approached the project in three main strategies:

1.Implementation strategy.

In this project, the implementation strategy has been considered as a key and absolutely transcendental aspect from at least three points of view:

The best present and future urban development.
The best environmental design for the bioclimatic operation of the proposal.
The greatest efficiency from the point of view of the economic and ecological cost of the work.

In order to meet these three requirements, the implementation strategies are described below:

Respect for the existing structure.

It is proposed to respect the structure already built on the plot, completing the concrete slab at first floor level.

Parking on the southeast boundary of the plot.

The free space between the access road to the plot and the existing structure allows the organization of a surface parking lot with a strip of trees. It is proposed to recess the parking lot in relation to the street level, placing the first floor level at a higher level. This slightly recessed location of the parking lot allows for its vegetation cover by means of light elements, presenting itself as a green carpet next to the building. In this way, indirect radiation on the cars and towards the buildings is eliminated, generating shade for the vehicles and a very low albedo (10-20% typical of green surfaces).

Present buildability and footprint of the future expansion.

The respect for the existing structure and the strategic position of the surface parking lot frees up a large part of the plot to the north, an ideal area for future building growth. The possibility of a second phase that exhausts the total buildable area of the plot with a “twin” building to the one now presented is therefore presented:

2.Project Strategies.

The six main strategies that have been taken into account for the design of the new building are described below:

4.1 Maximum efficiency of the new structure.

A metallic and modular structure is proposed outside the existing concrete structure. This solution, as an exoskeleton, allows, on the one hand, support on the existing structure and foundation in a clean way, without altering the levels of the existing structure and reusing foundations and walls; on the other hand, a series of transverse Vierendeel beams span approximately 17m.

4.2 Maximum flexibility and clarity in the organization of the floor plan and facilities.

The exoskeleton-like arrangement of the structure frees up 100% of the floor area above ground level without intermediate pillars, each “hall” being arranged as an open space 17m wide by more than 90m long.

Sustainability and energy efficiency.

Sustainability and energy efficiency

The building would be NETZero, Rating A. This is achieved by the complementary application of the following strategies:

1.- Envelope filter to screen and redirect direct solar radiation, achieving optimal interior daylighting, always in a diffuse manner 2.

2.- Optimum insulation with a continuous envelope over its entire surface, together with the thermal cushion of the facade gallery.

3.- Presence of thermal inertia of the concrete hollow core slabs towards the interior of the rooms and activation of a free-cooling system through the hollow core slabs.

Renewable electricity production through a photovoltaic surface over the entire footprint of the building on the roof. This surface will in turn generate a large ventilated air chamber avoiding direct solar radiation on the last slab.

5.- Arrangement of a very efficient machinery with minimum routes in its layout.