Miguel Hernández University (UMH) Architect: Subarquitectura & Arquitecturas Torres Nadal Location: Orihuela, Alicante, Spain Completion: 2008 GFA: 2,000 m2 Photography: Juan de la Cruz Mejías
The building is located inside the Campus de los Desamparados in Orihuela, next to a lemon orchard. There, the conditions of light, lack of rain and heat are really extreme, with temperature exceeding 40oC during the summer months. Laboratories and departments are grouped by a structure of interspersed rings, which contain a system of semi-outdoor courtyards connected with each other at different levels. These rings are composed of three white plastic strips: the bottom one, in contact with the ground, is semi-transparent and porous, and lets you view the outside when you are sitting; the middle strip, very opaque and technical, leads the large volume of required facilities inside; and the last one, very diffuse, regulates the atmosphere and creates shadows, as a big cloud. The semi-open courtyards become important meeting spaces, while allowing access to labs. In its technified semi-interior, conditions of light, humidity and temperature are locally modified by multiple infra-red and humidifiers.
Plant, particularly, is a very important element in the whole design, being seen in both outside and inside. Outside, it fuses with the surrounding atmosphere to compose a unique landscape, which evokes continuing visual sensation when being seen from distance. Being transplanted inside, it not only makes the air clean, but also adds vividness to the whole environment to make the troublesome lab working more interesting.
Façade has been given special emphasis on – seeming to be transparent from afar which completely stands out from the surrounding landscapes and integrates perfectly with the other buildings in the campus. Research facility is different from the teaching class, giving more importance on practice; thus it needs to be more lively and fresh compared with the other educational structures. By employing special materials on the façade and constructing different structures, the design of the research facilities in UMH University can be said a good sample which engages designers’ distinctive vision and direct method.
1. Northwest façade 2. View from northeast 3. View from west 1
Published on Mar 17, 2011
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