Azca is Madrid’s business district, and for almost forty years, the tower that stands at number 77 Paseo de La Castellana has marked its centre. Built in the 1970s, the tower was originally known as the Ederra Tower or the Saint Gobain building. For years, then, it has stood contemplating the passing of time and being marked by time in a process that gradually aged its facade, depriving it of the kind of interaction with its urban context that every building should enjoy.
Now, its recent acquisition by the Gmp property group and the refurbishment carried out by the Luis Vidal + Arquitectos studio has made the tower a new Azca icon, thanks mainly to the management of its energy impact that is so efficient the complex has even been awarded prestigious LEED Gold certification.
Light and identity are the two main concepts on which the design is based, as the architectural studio is firmly convinced that only a powerful identity can make what is visible invisible. The first goal defined was that of taming sunlight and exploiting it to create an image that would express a clear identity during both the day and night. Light is a source of both energy and heat. The issue of heat has been resolved by adding a series of ETFE blade-like strips to the facade, which allow light to pass, but not heat. The strips were positioned after careful research into the exposure of different kinds of facade to sunlight. The result is a series of waves with specific curves and consequently specific areas of shade, in order to guarantee protection, energy savings and visual comfort.
Kilometres of RGB Underscore InOut light lines, using DALI protocol, have been installed along these ETFE strips to create changes in colour, tone and movement that light up the building and turn it into a landmark on the nocturnal skyline. So, it has become a building that literally changes through light.
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