BBVA Headquarters, Madrid

BBVA’s new headquarters is located on the northern periphery of Madrid. A linear structure of three-story buildings, with courtyards, passages and irrigated gardens, is laid over the entire site which has a considerable slope like a carpet, analogous to an Arabian garden. The existing buildings are altered to tie in with the new structures, and to create offices and gardens of similar linearity and scale.

They are either cut out or filled in to be integrated into the overall “fabric”. It is a raw architecture, one where the structure is prominently expressed. It is a design that is informed by the strong influence of the solar conditions, which ultimately results in a southern type of architecture. Along the rather narrow inner gardens and streets, concrete columns and cantilevering floor slabs provide shade to prevent excessive sun, which reduces demand for air conditioning. The full height but recessed glazing provides good daylight conditions in the offices to minimize artificial lighting.

Along the periphery of the complex we developed brise-soleils that are fixed in between the floor slabs. Unlike the prominent modern references, these are cut out in the lower part at an angle to provide more view and daylight where protection is needed least- resulting in figurative element that vary in direction and size according to the solar angle and program. The sloping site creates another subtle yet influential consequence on the facade as the brise-soleils adjust in height. A round like plaza is cut out of the carpet, and then, it is as if this mass were tilted upward to become a very slim tower to mark BBVA in the Madrid skyline. In contrast to the low-rise offices, the tower offers another type of workspace, with views across the city and to the mountains. The plaza is planted with hundreds of trees and surrounded by various communal facilities. Together, the plaza and the tower provide orientation to the entire complex.