The new headquarters for the Valencia Construction Sector Employment Foundation at L’Horta Vella Bétera Ind Est, Valencia, has secured first prize for MRM Architects’ Studio in the 20th edition of ASCER’s Tile of Spain Awards.
The new FLCCV building is set in a rural, semi-industrial plot, surrounded by fields of olive and fruit trees, and is bounded to the north by the Carraixet ravine.
In keeping with the Valencia region’s norms, a decision was taken to use ceramic tiles for the construction of the new employment centre.
The building projects a simple and clear-cut image. It comprises a series of interconnected volumes that together transmit the sense of institutional representativeness required of the building. Its location and design are the result of a formal and functionally ordered pattern of separate sections or volumes grouped together by means of a flat pergola that connects and unites all the buildings through its careful modulation and precise alignment.
The building is organised on a single floor, around two outdoor courtyards, each with their own character. These courtyards play an essential role in terms of the internal organisation, either as a space for outdoor work-related activities, or as spaces for leisure such as networking, and relaxation.
The layout of the volumes and the differentiated uses guarantee optimum functionality and outstanding soundproofing, as well as excellent natural light. Their flexibility makes them ideal multipurpose spaces, allowing for the zoning of activities and programming of independent or simultaneous activities in the building, guaranteeing the capacity to effectively keep them separate.
The use of natural light in the classrooms and workshops has been resolved in accordance with the various teaching requirements: the workshops are illuminated by means of skylights, most of which face north-northeast, whilst the remaining areas feature openings in the façade with external sunlight control.
The finishes are a reflection of the construction process, taking advantage of the building details to create essentially visual resources. The 1,000 by 3,000 by 3mm ceramic tile featured defines and modulates the entire building, creating a sense of geometric harmony that is then re-dimensioned in accordance with the width and height of the ceramic tile used.
“Our search for a formal material that both suits and is adaptable to a modular structure revealed that large format ceramic tiles are a versatile and flexible architectural resource. Flexibility in formal configuration, material quality and the plethora of surface characteristics make ceramic tiles an element able to accompany and unify the overall image of the centre, providing it with the desired identity and character. It has been used on the ventilated façade of all the building volumes, and fixed onto galvanised steel sheets on pedestrian door, facility registers and vehicle doors,” explains the architectural team of Miguel Alonso Flamarique, Roberto Erviti Machain, and Mamen Escorihuela Vitales.
“Inside, the 100 by 100 by 8mm ceramic tiles create surfaces of outstanding quality, suitable for use in the most challenging collective spaces, such as dressing rooms and bathrooms.”
The Tile of Spain Awards promote and celebrate the use of Spanish ceramic tiles in architecture and interior design projects both in Spain and abroad. Now in its 20th edition, the competition is organised by ASCER, the Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers’ association.
Photography: Mikel Muruzabal
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, June 2022.