Centro Carlos Santamaría

JAAM sociedad de arquitectura en tant que Architectes.

The Carlos Santamaría Centre, located in San Sebastian, is an advanced data centre and library, linked to the Ibaeta University Campus.

The building is conceived as a huge container, shaped from a spontaneous outline following the natural curve of the lot. The line is the wall containing the two blocks arranged in a north-south direction, and its vertex is at the place we consider the most important: the building’s main access, which opens up like a large mouth, pointing the vertex towards the sky.

The division of the construction into two blocks also makes the creation of a private, inner garden possible, like an extension of the spaces that overlook it. It is a quiet, green area, accessible for strolling, reading and group meetings, always lighted from the south and north, an outdoor counterpoint to urban noise, inside the building.

Based on the different uses of the building, the spaces are organised in the two blocks in which it is divided, emphasising the clarity of the paths and the autonomy of the uses. The first block, in front of the main entrance, houses the reception area, the administration area, the exhibition hall and the auditorium in the ground floor. In the upper level there are modular spaces for institutes and departments. The second block houses the library with its reading rooms, the information technology area and the media library. The compact warehouse is in the basement, where there is a parking too.

The position of the windows in the façade is determined from the interior, placing them at the end of the communication axes. Their proportions have been carefully studied to reach a satisfactory composition. In certain places some of these windows protrude outwards: they are extensions of the interior space in strategic places, fitted out with light and benches, to read or relax.

The principal façade of the building is a curved wall of 25cm made out of white self-compacting concrete. Structurally this envelope is independent of the slabs, so that thermal bridges can be avoided. In the inner side this wall is lined with a laminated gypsum board, leaving an air chamber between them where the insulation is placed. The most special feature of this façade is the ‘peak’ in the entrance area, where each walls cantilevers 20m approximately until they meet.

In the garden which divides the building the solution of the façades consists of IPE wood planks. These planks are fixed to damp-proofed pine battens, which at the same time are placed on an OSB with a waterproofing sheet on its exterior face. The structure of the façade is composed of laminated wood posts and crossbeams, between which a 14cm rock wool board is placed. In the inner side the solution is lined with another OSB, which is finally lined with eucalyptus plywood.

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