A permeable structure intertwining open and closed spaces, with classrooms, workshops and areas open to the public in the heart of the Spanish capital
A real open-air theatre, a permeable structure standing as backdrop to the central courtyard of the San Pablo CEU campus in Madrid, making the building the beating heart of the entire complex. This is the new project designed by the studio Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos for the Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Comunicación ‒ the faculty of humanities and communication sciences ‒ standing on a triangular site with a pronounced gradient; a place where some of the Spanish capital's key spots intersect.
The internationally renowned CEU campus in Madrid is made up of buildings belonging to different periods and styles ‒ an interesting collection for taking a look at the evolution of architectural design shaped to education and research. The new project goes to join this context, making permeability its hallmark: it incorporates a sequence of open and closed spaces linking the two access areas, from Paseo Juan XXIII and from the area north of the site. This connection sets out public spaces on various levels, which may be used by students and city residents alike. The design assigns 12,000 m2 to classrooms, lecture halls, workshops, spaces for cultural activities and a covered parking area. The management and administration offices are instead housed in a repurposed edifice originally built in the Colonia Metropolitana.
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The main building for the new Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Comunicación shows a U-shaped plan following the site perimeter and opening up onto a courtyard to the south, creating an 'urban terrace': a wide staircase enabling access to the roof and a unique view of the mountains and Madrid. An open-air theatre where the central courtyard stands as a community and meeting place bringing together students, teaching staff and visitors.
The façades are clad in what the designers describe as a wavy perforated metallic second skin. This provides effective protection from the sun's rays and adapts to the various angulations of the building. An eco-friendly edifice perfectly to scale with its surrounding urban context.
Location: Madrid, Spain
Area: 12000 m2
Architect: Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos
Client: Campus CEU San Pablo Madrid
Photography by Roland Halbe, courtesy of Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos