A secret: on the east façade, Sáenz de Oiza left his signature as if delivering a sculpture and not a building of 33 heights and 107 meters. It is engraved on the metal structure of the revolving door, almost at ground level. Time has proved him right, as in so many things. The former headquarters of BBVA, now owned by the Gmp real estate group, is a BIC (Property of Cultural Interest). A classic of the avant-garde. What does that patrimonial protection mean? That any reform is complicated, submitted to the zeal of a restorer of pictures.
In 2014, Gmp begins to rehabilitate the tower to host corporate headquarters. The consultant Arup (design, planning and engineering), proposes an additional challenge: the WELL Building Standard certification, the most prestigious international trademark in architecture for health and well-being. They made it. Castellana 81 adds that trophy to another certification equivalent in sustainability and energy efficiency, LEED Platinum. At the moment it is the only Spanish building with WELL stamp. In the rest of Europe there are a handful, but all of new construction and without patrimonial protection. That's why they were able to plan a sustainable project from scratch.
So why would a tower in 1978, when almost no one was afraid of pollution or tobacco, rub shoulders with the architectural elite of the 21st? Because it was thought for the XXI. Susana Saiz, Associate of Sustainability and Energy of Arup, explains it on the 24th floor before Madrid displayed as a 3D animation: "Oiza's original project, original in many ways, anticipates the WELL and LEED criteria. Some of them comply directly, others are facilitated to reform. "
For example, the total opening to the exterior (95% of the jobs with views) and part of the skeleton with suspended beams without pillars. They are not depressive gray concrete, they were manufactured with a dye between pink and beige. External acoustic insulation (it is strange to see but not hear such traffic down there) and a whisper almost imperceptible in the internal machinery. Climatic design of the facades, glass with solar filtering and zonal climate control. Each user can play with a couple of degrees of temperature.
The local materials were brought from the outskirts or manufactured in situ to reduce energy consumption and emissions in transport. There are no volatile or toxic organic compounds in the entire catalog of materials, from resins to sealants or furniture. Filtering and analysis of drinking water. Air filters that create an aseptic bubble between traffic jams. The mole is isolated from the harmful radon gas, abundant in Madrid by the granite substrate, thanks to a foundation worthy of a nuclear shelter.
Some details: sensors in the auditorium that oxygenate the environment when they detect too much CO2. That concentration of human carbon dioxide is what numbs even if the conference is brilliant. The hall receives with radiant heating, that great contribution of the Roman civilization to comfort. The messages of healthy life on the giant screen of the lobby and in the digital library make the corresponding contribution of technological civilization.
"All the integral design, including the elephantine foot [un canon de proporciones constantes], contribute to that feeling of well-being. It is everywhere, it surrounds you but you can not specify it, that is what it is about, "says Susana Saiz.
Welfare is the key concept for Leyre Octavio, Executive Director of the Architecture Division at Savills Aguirre Newman, one of the companies hosted at Castellana 81. But not any company, because is dedicated to designing corporate spaces. "We are our own showcase [escaparate]"
In that house, sixth floor, there are no landlines, no one owns / holds a post, works by projects, with collaborative work processes and paperless really, the space is democratic and flexible, with uses ad hoc. "Such a design in a building like that share the objective of stimulating and caring to retain talent. We want that, being able to work at home, we choose to come to an office like this. "
Leyre says that this vital and professional aspiration is a trait in the millenials that interview: "They want to know how is the place where they are going to work, if they will love it or they will hate it, if it will allow them to learn from other people".