Designed by Sanzpont Arquitectura, this sustainable renovation completely transformed a 1970s office building in Barcelona, Spain. The project, a new headquarters of the Naturgy Group, overcame several structural obstacles to achieve LEED Gold certification.

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A daytime street lined with trees that partially obscure the facade of a glass business tower with a logo reading "Naturgy."

The building includes a main facade with large windows for ample natural light. A series of photocatalytic krion 3D modules also give the building the ability to purify the air. The south facade incorporates photovoltaic louvers to protect from the sun in the summer while generating clean energy. According to the designers, the louvers generate enough energy to power 1,562 points of light for four hours a day for up to 35 years.

Related: This O-shaped tower will reduce solar gain by 52%

Various angles of the glass office tower.

The building also has a large portion of its roof dedicated to a natural green space. Landscapers incorporated drought-tolerant native plant species that provide extra insulation, improve the microclimate and help reduce solar gain.

A neutral-toned lobby with a Z-shaped front desk.

How did the architects develop such a sustainable design? To start, they conducted a detailed study of the area’s climate and environment to determine the characteristics of the building and how it responds to its surroundings throughout the year. The project was also designed using the latest BIM cloud technology to create virtual models of architecture, engineering, interior design and the urban environment before bringing the project to fruition.

A city view from a glass lookout area at the top of the building.

One of the challenges presented to the designers was the existing structure’s insufficient pre-existing floor heights and deformed slabs. The original use for the building was limited to housing — with structural regulatory requirements far below that of modern constructions. The building was changed from housing to offices by modifying and eliminating patios and adding access ramps to the basements. New supports were added, such as an emergency staircase and a new foundation. At 7,000 square meters in size, the newly renovated building also uses carbon fiber to reinforce concrete slab ribs and pillars. 

+ Sanzpont Arquitectura 

Images by Sergio Sanz (courtesy of Sanzpont)