Starting from defined conditionings, as the lands topography, irregular geometry, pre-existent building and the programs complexity, it is designed a whole of four volumes interrelated, holding the program total, defining its own exterior. The volumes are white-colored, made of prefabricated concrete panels. Are situated alternately, these forms areas enclosed by the architecture and vegetation. This way the sports ground, play ground, vegetable garden, parking and the ground kept for the extension are located harmoniously.
The main building is like an axis which orders the whole complex, lodging the common areas and articulating the different volumes through porches and glass connections. It is conceived as a solid with vertical subtractions as colourful courtyards, working as a source of light and freedom. These courtyards bring dynamism to the interior course and enhance the scene. The other three buildings that complete the complex, like the gym and workshops, show an industrial typography, wide and high ceilings, designed as solid volumes which are ventilated and lighted through great openings at the roof. Due to a coordinated scheme, it is obtained a homogeneous whole in conception and construction.
Right from the earliest design stages it was decided to use coloured ceramic tile on the IES (Institute for Higher Education) Jaume I project, as the contrast they would create with the bulky look of the pre-cast concrete would provide the character and singularity that the designers wanted the building to have. Using ceramic tile – a traditional, inexpensive material that offers great versatility in terms of colours and formats and is easy to install – enabled us to resolve all the building’s requirements as regards finishes, both interior and exterior, with a single element.
When drawing up the specifications for the project we took a hard look at ceramic tile and the classic way of using it so as to then make optimum use of the sculptural possibilities the material offers. The different coloured glazes on the tiles mean that it is easy to know where you are in the building. They also make the routes around the inside more dynamic and give a warm feel to the spaces. The installation options for tiles and the many ways in which they can be deployed meant that ceramic would be the element that would link the interior to the exterior of the building, through the differently coloured patios. The material’s intrinsic properties enhanced all of these propositions whilst the fact that they are strong and hygienic – very important considerations for this kind of building – was another major benefit.
It was for all of these reasons that we chose to use 20 x 20 cm ceramic tiles with 10 x 10 cm presplitting. We used a cement based grout with colour added in and cement mortar adhesive with mixed fixatives on a cement mortar render. As the patios are outside spaces subject to significant temperature variations we laid both horizontal and vertical joints to avoid tiles coming loose and to make it easier to hold them in place.
Emilio J. Pérez (Building Engineer)
Jorge Martínez (Works manager)
Tile of Spain Awards ASCER 2010. Distinction Architecture category