What do you do when you need to expand a building in Bilbao, but you’re confronted with a patchwork quilt of building codes that restrict what you can do with the building’s design? You design a double-skinned glass and steel addition. The outside of the Basque Health Department in Bilbao shows an exterior that meets the local building code requirements, and an interior that meets the needs of the building’s occupants.
Glass and steel construction offers energy efficiency
The quirky building extension, which is required to have setbacks, walls that conform to those of neighboring buildings, and a tower, was designed by Coll-Barreu Arquitectos and has quickly become a landmark structure. The original building was designed in 1862, and the original structure – along with its neighbors – was designed in the style of that time. The addition was proposed in 2003 – 2004 and construction began in December 2004. The project was completed in February 2008.
The double-façade approach comes with additional benefits beyond simply meeting local design requirements. The glass and steel façade significantly reduces street noise in the building, because the double skin acts as a sound insulator. It also improves the building’s fire safety and reduces solar heat gain in the working interior of the building, making the addition highly energy efficient. The seven-story addition sits atop a three-level underground parking lot.
The outer façade of the building has a folded, almost random appearance, and is made of glass and tubular steel. The exterior skin isn’t tightly sealed, which allows the space between the inner and outer façades to “breathe.” The angled exterior glass controls the ability of UV-radiation to penetrate the interior façade, which reduces the amount of heat that accumulates in the working structure during the day. The building also features a two-story glass atrium and a roof deck, both of which are used for meetings and events.
The exterior façade uses laminated glass made of three distinct layers – glass, a layer of PVB, and a layer of low-e SunGuard glass by Guardian Industries. The interior façade features double-paned windows made of float glass and low-e laminated Neutralite glass, also made by Guardian Industries.
The Basque Health Department features one interesting way to design with glass. You can also bring glass into your own living and working space. Glassprimer™ glass paint creates a wide variety of opportunities to put glass to work as a decorating surface in both residential and commercial settings. If you’re looking for glass inspiration, please visit the rest of our site. If you’d like to purchase Glassprimer™ glass paint, please visit our online store .
Photo Credit: Wojtek Gurak, via FreeImages.com