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Departments Complex

Estudio Carme Pinós

Set between the block volumes of the Executive Academy, by No.mad Arquitectos, and the lavish form of the Learning Center, by Zaha Hadid, and opposite the vivid layers of the Departments and Administration buildings by CRAB, these buildings hold their own with a deliberately segmented form and strong duo-chrome exterior. Following a scissor-like plan of narrow rectilinear sections, two segments branch off from a main trunk to create a total of three separate wings. Grey planes alternate with white walls that have a pixelated appearance. Dubbed the “Tetris” façades, these feature a pattern of geometric insets that range from top to bottom and incorporate window openings lined in grey metal. The windows are fitted with automated folding aluminum shutters that are activated when the sun becomes too strong. Like all of the buildings on the campus, the rooms are all monitored by light sensors that also determine how much artificial lighting is needed and adjust it accordingly.
The pattern of the façade continues on the interior of the buildings, which is light and cool, and of course much more rectilinear than the curvaceous Learning Center next door. Indeed that orthogonal quality is almost celebrated here, where the underside of the concrete stair is left uncovered to reveal a jagged ascending line that corresponds to the pixelated cut-outs in the façade. However, circular details in the light fittings contrast nicely in scale and pattern with all of those right angles. And all of this geometry is softened by a reflecting pool, which borders the ground-floor...

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