Green Architecture Renovating an Urban Space
The green façade of the Turó de la Peira sports center, in the Nou Barris district of Barcelona, is nothing short of a vertical garden on which the surrounding vegetation sweeps up onto the building. The project is the work of Anna Noguera and Javier Fernández, who won the competition organized by the City of Barcelona for this project. Sustainability is at the heart of this new facility and it really changes the urban setting in which it is located, an otherwise heavily populated district where greenery is a scarce commodity amid the abundance of 1960s social housing.
A portion of the building is dug into the ground, to compensate for the difference in level between the roads on either side. The lower level has a heated pool, while the upper floor has a multi-sport court. The façade overlooking Calle Sant Iscle has a distinct urban feel, with a covered porch that extends around the corner and integrates into the sidewalk. The other sides of the building are wrapped in a green drape that extends the garden, forming a sunscreen and bio-climatic space.
The façade for the sports center was created using ArcoPlus® polycarbonate modular systems from Dott. Gallina, which guarantees high levels of thermal insulation and optimal sunlight transmission, improving the building’s overall energy performance. The translucent surfaces diffuse the natural light, improving visual comfort and cutting the shadows and reflections that might otherwise disturb the athletes. At the same time, they lighten the outer perimeter of the building and add a visual connection between the interior environments and the external landscape.
The load-bearing structure was made using a pre-fabricated glulam structure chosen largely because it meets demanding mechanical performance standards, it is suitable for a pool environment, and it is light and quick to assemble. The entire structure took a mere eight weeks to erect and, inside the building, it was left visible to create a specific sense of architectural character. The wood used in the construction came from certified forests, photovoltaic panels cover the roof and a large water tank on the basement level collects rainwater that is used in irrigating the façade plants. Natural solutions provide the required “air conditioning”, with 24 skylights and windows monitored by sensors that ensure ideal ventilation and sufficient illumination.
These aspects of the project that guarantee minimal energy consumption and low environmental impact were central to the building earning LEED Platinum certification.