A new public building in Zaragoza, Spain is much more than a set of offices for the city’s environmental services department — it is also a beautiful extension of the public park next to the Ebro River. Magén Arquitectos added a plethora of sustainable features like solar panels, rain catchment, and a green roof, but they also turned the building into a public gathering place — with an outdoor amphitheater, meeting rooms, and a path that transverses the roof.
The building has certain similarities to a sculpture or a piece of furniture due to its sculpted form, access throughout, and its placement in the park. It’s soft Ipe wood-clad exterior, glass-walled meeting room and outdoor amphitheater create an open plan that welcomes the public in. The meeting room’s glass walls make brilliant use of a cantilevered roofing system that allows the glass panels to float below, blurring the boundaries between the outdoors with the interior. The city’s offices are tucked below on the ground floor, while the public entrance to the sloping site is on the second level.
The roof is quite a mutitasker — taking advantage of good orientation, the embedded solar panels feed the local grid to offset the building’s energy consumption. A planted section provides natural habitat and helps reduce cooling needs and the urban heat island effect. A public path allows access to views of the river and park. The roof also collects rain water for building use.