Situated in Zaragoza, Spain, the Convention Center of Aragon is a stunning conference hall that rises from the banks of the Ebro river in a cascading series of waves. The center's fluid form is fitting -- the voluminous prefabricated space was designed and built by Nieto Sobejano for the 2008 Zaragoza Expo, which focused upon the themes of water and sustainable development. The building is wrapped in a façade composed of 12,000 triangular ceramic tiles, and its angled roofs are punctuated with massive skylights that almost entirely eliminate the need for electric lighting during the day. We recently had a chance to take a first-hand look inside this remarkable building as part of Tile of Spain's Reign in Spain tour - hit the jump for our pics!
The Convention Center of Aragon is a dynamic multi-use space that was designed to serve a variety of functions once the Zaragoza Expo ended. It is composed of three main blocks that house a multi-purpose pavilion, a series of modular halls and offices, and the largest auditorium in the city. The building’s blazing construction pace was facilitated by the use of prefabricated panels to fill a variety of building needs – entire sections of the building’s walls and façade were constructed off-site and outfitted with a variety of finishes ranging from shade screens to acoustic panels and sun-reflecting ceramic tiles. The result is a modular building that was quickly constructed and can be easily repaired, maintained, and configured simply by switching out older panels for newer ones.
The building’s roofs are carefully angled to protect the interior spaces from Spain’s harsh southern sun, and a series of skylights were installed to capture sunlight and carry it through all of the center’s levels and rooms. A series of automated blinds can be raised or lowered to suit the needs of individual spaces, and the building’s glass curtain walls are shielded by a series of prefab mesh panels that form geometric brise-soleils that allow daylight to infiltrate while reducing solar heat gain.
The convention center’s most eye-catching attribute is its dynamic roof, which is emblazoned with 12,000 triangular ceramic tiles arranged in geometric patterns that shift according to the incident of the sun. The vitreous tiles were made in matte and glazed finishes by Spanish manufacturer Decorativa, and they have been carefully placed so that they reflect or absorb light throughout the day, causing different sections of the building to sparkle as the sun crosses the sky.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Lighting accounts for roughly 30% of a building’s total energy use – Nieto Sobejano were able to significantly reduce this figure through the use of passive solar design and a series of carefully laid-out skylights. The building’s prefabricated panel design allowed for efficient construction and is easy to repair and renovate over time.
All photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat