Besòs Student Residence
Aldo Amoretti

Besòs Student Residence

MDBA en tant que Architectes.

The Campus Diagonal-Besòs forms a compact, carefully designed urban unity, located at the crossing of Diagonal and Ronda Litoral. The Hall of Residents wants to play its particular role as “social hub” in this Campus; a place with large communal facilities and a pleasant home for a diverse population of students, guest professors and researchers.


The contours of the site are sharply defined along the lining up of several buildings at both sides of the emblematic central wooden deck. This decksymbolizes what this campus wants to be: a harvest of interchange of knowledge and ideas, of education and research.


The Hall of Residents takes a particular place in the number of buildings of the Campus. It is the only building that will be permanently inhabited.  Therefore it looks for an expression that underlines the conviviality with a glimpse of informality.  The generous covered entrance area is an extension of the wooden deck, leading the resident and visitor elegantly towards the inner functions of the building.  The opening up of the view onto the garden at the street side, intensifies this welcoming gesture.


The building is conceived around a central open space.  This courtyard invitesan overwhelming crystal-clear daylight. The repetitive juxtaposition of studentresidence-units spreads out alongside the patio, forming by doing so a patio for a charming conviviality between its residents, protected from the noisy Ronda Litoral.  The patio reaches to the -1 level, offering extra qualitative spaces for communal use.

The volumetric strategy of the building is largely defined by the geometrical constraints imposed by the building regulations. In order to guarantee a fluid alignment of the buildings along the Ronda Litoral, the contour of the building is cantilevered from the level +2 upwards.  These results in an articulated volume provided with a proud two-stories high plinth along the road.


The height reduction of the volume on the northern side along the wooden deck is urban-wise a very productive restriction, offering a lower scale at the heart of the campus, a reference height connecting the different buildings in their volume and an extra terraced space with a pool.


The ground floor level is provided of a restaurant situated alongside the deck. The covered entrance area of the building gives way to a comfortable and pleasant terrace in extension of the restaurant. 


Student residences have by definition a repetitive character. The structure and the façade design show clearly this modularity.  In an attempt to punctuate the residential character of the building though, the repetitive position of the windows is blurred by the aluminium moveable sunscreen panels offering a more playful façade. 


Precast panels combined with bronze aluminum panels for the fixed claddings. In this way the building will express its proper residential characteristic but plays with the textures and colors of the existing buildings. 


The identity of the Campus as a coherent quiet, refined but powerful urban unity is respected.  The hall of residents adds another sculptural volume, as one of the keys of this exiting chessboard.  

Diagonal Besòs Student Residence

POLO Architects en tant que Architectes.


New resident hall creates a place of interaction for the university community in Barcelona
The new Diagonal-Besòs Campus in Barcelona is an innovation centre where internationally acclaimed education, research and technology transfers come together. An international team, Belgium based POLO Architects, project developer LIFE and Spain based Maria Diaz Blanco Architecture, boosted the campus by designing a residence for students, teaching staff and researchers. The winning competition design strengthens the campus' position as a social centre and meeting place in the centre of the Forum district, a part of Barcelona in full development.


wide range of perspectives
The new campus has become a compact urban unit. Buildings rise up like sculptures along Ronda Litoral and brilliantly symbolise what the campus wants to be: a collection of knowledge and exchanging ideas, of education and research for students, professors and researchers, in a contemporary and open environment with a promising and sustainable vision of the future. The structure of the residence for students, teaching staff and researchers embraces a central green patio allowing daylight to enter into all corners of the building. The patio reaches all the way down to floor -1. The inner garden provides residents with shelter from urban noise. The generous entrance is an extension of the wooden deck and opens up the building to the street side with a welcoming gesture.


POLO Architects and Maria Diaz Blanco Architecture designed a living space in which required spatial limitations were turned into qualities. An overhang on the second floor ensures a smooth alignment of the buildings along Ronda Litoral. This results in an articulated building with an imposing base. Building height limitations inspired the rooftop terrace. The structure boasts interesting cross-sections with a wide range of horizontal, vertical and diagonal perspectives.


Rooftop terrace with a sea view
The building contains 191 residential units accessible through outdoor walkways around the patio doubling as balconies for the units. The strategically located sanitary facilities split the compact rooms into various spaces with a view on the central patio or a street view. Movable solar panels on the outer facade counteract the student units' repetitive nature. White painted concrete panels alternated with aluminium accents give the building its own character that simultaneously flirts with the existing structure's textures and colours.


The project offers an outdoor swimming pool and an urban rooftop terrace with sea view. The inclusion of community functions on top of residential purposes clearly shows the social ambition of this project and turns the Diagonal-Besós campus into a compact city within a metropolis. The residence for students, teaching staff and researchers boosts the Diagonal-Besòs Campus, improves its integration with its surroundings and turns it into a place of interaction for the university community, local residents and businesses.

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