- Project Name
- Ciudad Grupo Santander
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- New Construction
- 4,100,000 sq. feet
- Year Completed
- Shared by
- Miabelle Salzano
- Project Status
FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
Architectural Design Intent
In designing Santander Central Hispano we wished to realize the vision of Sr. Botin to create a beautiful campus of exceptional office buildings where the parking would be adequate and convenient, where the office floors would be large enough to permit ideal arrangement of departments but not so large as to overwhelm the individual, where it would be possible to create a sense of working family, where there would be unobstructed views out in all directions of beautiful gardens and courtyards, where there would be a variety of places to meet and relax, and where the whole experience of working in this environment would be stimulating, life enhancing, and productive. In short—a place for people.
The objective of a new campus is to bring together employees now housed in different facilities and create an efficient, productive working community. In doing this, a new identity will be established for Santander Central Hispano, an identity that will reflect its business objectives, its respect for the environment, and its respect for the dignity, comfort, and convenience of the people who will achieve those objectives.
To be satisfactory to employees and to meet modern international standards, the workplace must have good light, good temperature and humidity control, and a quiet environment. These requirements can be met with competent design and engineering. Proximity to daylight is important. The buildings are designed so that on the ground floor the center bay of the north-south wing is flooded with daylight from the skylight, making the farthest distance from daylight just 5 meters. On the upper floors, the farthest distance from daylight is no more than 7 ½ meters. On all of the floors of the east-west wings, the maximum distance from daylight is less than 12 meters. There are ample views of the surrounding countryside and the landscaped courtyards. The walking distance to restrooms, stairs, and elevators is between 30 to 40 meters–well within the normal criteria for office buildings.
The concerns are with accessibility, convenience, weather protection, and safety. Having designed many similar headquarters complexes, we believe that the most convenient and satisfactory solution is to park all the cars under the buildings. The cost differential between surface parking and underground parking has been evaluated many times in these projects. There are several factors which must be weighed. The cost of surface parking must include additional road work, landscaping, lighting, drainage, maintenance and protection from sun and rain. When that is considered, the costs still favor surface parking. The most unsatisfactory combination from an employee’s point of view is to have some indoor and some outdoor parking. This sets up two standards of accommodation which can be a source of dissatisfaction and contention. The additional cost of parking under the buildings is more than compensated for by the convenience to the employees and the reduction of the environmental impact. In addition, it facilitates loading dock access and access to service elevators throughout the entire campus. Given then that this campus aspires to the highest level of design, parking under the buildings is assumed for this master plan.
Intercommunication is very important, both to employer and employee. It facilitates the flow of information and stimulates the sense of a working family. The internal communication in each building is encouraged by opening up parts of the second and third floors to create a larger working community. The design and number of the stairs and elevators also facilitates communication. Intercommunication between buildings is enhanced by the proximity of buildings and by the character of the courtyards which will make the journey between buildings a pleasant experience.
The buildings are designed for maximum flexibility. Many different configurations of building plans are possible. The widths of the buildings are appropriate for efficient workstation layout without sacrificing access to daylight and outdoor views. The column spacing of 10.1 meters by 7.85 meters is ideal for office planning as well as being suitable for efficient parking arrangement below.
High Quality of Urban Space
The tradition for urban space in Spain is of closely-spaced buildings relieved by landscaped courtyards. In this site, which is so open to the elements, it seems appropriate to follow this tradition. The buildings are planned to create handsomely-proportioned courtyards which can be landscaped in a variety of ways. Again, following tradition, the central space is a great plaza which is the heart of the campus. This great space is landscaped using large trees in the area where there is no parking structure underneath. The plaza, as one would expect in a town, is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, and shops, an alternative to the tired and boring institutional cafeteria. The plaza is the site for the executive office building.
The appropriate global image for SCH needs to be determined and refined in discussion with executives during the design process. No doubt it should reflect a modern, streamlined, efficient organization–an organization with its eyes focused on the future, but also with a memory of the vast cultural heritage of Spain. It should portray an organization which is a worldwide banking institution with many business interests providing an unmatched level of service and cherishing efficiency and cost effectiveness–all of this with a sophisticated sense of good design.
The office space of 150,000 square meters is divided into ten buildings, three stories in height, and contains 5,000 square meters on each floor. The executive building has five floors for a total of 8,500 square meters. Parking for 5,000 cars as well as a training center, hotel, sports facilities, day care center, 18-hole golf course with club house, and their parking will also be provided.
After study, a final scheme emerges–150,000 square meters divided into nine three-story buildings and a five-story executive building. The large central building, which is the principle center for technology, has floor plates of approximately 10,000 square meters. The eight other buildings have floor plates of approximately 5,000 square meters. Space for 5,000 cars and executive and visitor parking is in 1 ½ levels underneath.
Looking at the topography of the site, it is clear that the best location for the campus both for relatively level land and good access is the central north area. By making one 4 meter step in the building platform, it is possible to set the campus into the land with minor earth movement. The earth movement is minimized by using the garage construction to create a level platform.
As the master plan was evolving, the building design was also under study. For a 30.3 meter building looking north, there are two problems: the building is too deep with not enough daylight awareness in the interior, and there is no protection from the east-west sun. Blinds are not fully efficient in controlling sun energy into the building and when down they block the view.
The solution proposed to both of these problems is to cantilever the upper floors out and extend them beyond the curtain wall to create awnings and to cover the resulting opening with a sun-control skylight which will filter daylight into the interior space. In the building looking west, the problems of sun penetration are not so severe. The angle of the sun is higher on the south facade so the heat gain can be handled more efficiently in the glass design together with an awning. The building at 23.55 meters wide is not considered to be too wide for outdoor awareness, since the farthest distance to a window is less than 12 meters. No sun protection is necessary on north facades. The projecting awnings on the south facades will give protection throughout the hottest part of the day. The north-south facades and the east-west facades then are different. This difference gives life, interest, and vitality to the design while at the same time solving practical problems.
The buildings will have silver aluminum curtain walls with double-glazed, clear glass, stainless steel awnings, and limestone solid walls.
Typical Floor Plan Layout
A population of 330 persons per floor area of 4,950 square meters provides 15 square meters per person. Center bays may be used either for workstations or enclosed offices and meeting rooms.
The courtyards located throughout the campus are all 30 meters wide and range between 70 meters and 85 meters long. They may be developed in many different and varied ways:
• in a traditional manner with trees and fountains
• as open paved areas with some fountains and flowers
• as pools with fountains and flowers and shrub plantings
• or with a trellis surrounding the courtyard and a fountain in the center.
There are nine courtyards with eight landscaped connections. These spaces serve to facilitate communication between buildings and provide a pleasant means of access to the dining facilities and the grand plaza. The executive building is located in this plaza.
The Grand Plaza
The central feature of the master plan–the grand plaza–is surrounded on the north, east, and west by restaurants, cafes, and shops. These are serviced from central kitchens and are proposed as an alternative to the standard cafeteria.
The dining facilities which are arranged around the grand plaza, although serviced from a central cafeteria, would be designed as separate dining rooms and cafes so as to avoid the feeling of giant institutional cafeterias. These restaurants would also spill out onto the grand plaza to provide outdoor dining.
Executive Office Building
A circle was selected as a plan shape for the executive office building so that it looks in all directions and is the central focus of the design. It has two openings to the inner atrium. The smaller one on the south looks out towards the golf course; the larger one on the north reaches out to the campus. It was decided to place the executive building on the south of the campus overlooking the golf course rather than on the north where the main close-in view would be of the highway, housing, and industrial developments. The view of the mountains is to the northwest. That view is visible from the upper floors of the executive building as it is two floor higher than the rest of the campus. The visitors’ entrance is from a covered roadway on the level below up a grand stairway. Executives enter a lower lobby from the executive parking area.
Parking of 273 cars for executives and visitors is provided at Level 2. Executives may enter the executive lobby and proceed directly to their offices by elevator. If desired, visitors could also use this lobby. For V.I.P. visitors, there is a grand stairway up to the podium creating a ceremonial entrance.
The fourth floor is proposed as the top executive floor. Suites of offices can be arranged on the outside wall which opens onto a terrace. Spectacular views will be visible from these offices.
The floors cantilever out, similar to the design of the office buildings, creating a dynamic interior volume which is covered by a bicycle wheel-type dome construction clad with a light control-glass skin.