ECOSISTEMA URBANO workplace by EU

...........................................................................................© Ecosistema Urbano


Ecosistema Urbano is an architecture and engineering team that focuses on the research and ecological design of new projects that understand sustainable development as a resource for innovation and enthusiasm. They became known worldwide because of the project Ecoboulevard of Vallecas in Madrid and for which they were awarded in 2007 with the ‘AR Award for Emerging Architecture’ among many other prizes.


The project for the restoration of this former coal depot where coal was stored, in the center of Madrid was carried out by Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, principals of Ecosistema Urbano. The premises is divided into two floors, ground floor and cellar, that have a total build surface of 180 m2, so one of the main first aims of the architects was trying to optimize space. This purpose started seeking how to reinterpret the space, making the structure more adaptable and using as possible original finish. Architects have emphasized the original materials and their irregular textures. The wood, the stone or the brick have played an important role on the project, contributing a contrast with new materials, new and antique are two concepts that are involved in all the project.


...........................................................................................© Ecosistema Urbano


Ground floor and cellar were divided by a concrete floor slab in poor conditions that was demolished, and replaced by a steel bar grating surface, this way sunlight can now access to cellar from ground floor, where it is placed the glass entry door and a great shop window. The bar grating surface reduces its density depending on the closeness to the shop window, improving even more that sunlight comes to the inside. The wall of rough brick of the cellar, filled originally with mortar, have certain parts with poorer constructive conditions that have been reconstructed with new materials with better properties for new use of the place, and differ from the non-reconstructed parts with a change on its texture. Pipes were not incrusted into the wall, architects avoided touching the former walls of brick in order to give increase the industrial appearance, and remembering the former factory function of this place. Lighting is solved with strip lighting integrated in the middle of the beams of the new structure.


Stairs have been developed with red UPN steel profiles welded by one side to another profile incrusted into the wall. Each one of steps reduce 2.23 cm its width as you go down in order to adapt with irregular geometry of the cellar’ walls. The decision about the red color of the stairs was thinking to create a shocking contrast with the white color that is predominant over the rest of the space. The decision about red also influenced on the selection of the furniture, which have been carefully chosen on red, black and white, giving an smart but also aggressive point of view over a workplace. The inside of the office was painted on white trying to create an uniform space and not creating difference between new and restored parts of the project. Keeping this purpose of equalization, the floor was also painted on white but with a high abrasion resistance resin, commonly used on garages and factories.


...........................................................................................© Ecosistema Urbano


As can be seen Ecosistema Urbano have attended every single detail of this little project, just a matter of interest they kept an antique dumbwaiter that was restored and white painted to incorporate it into the new space under the same chromatic criterion.


Address: c/Estanislao Figueras 6. Madrid

Architect: Ecosistema Urbano (Belinda Tato + Jose Luis Vallejo)

Info: http://www.ecosistemaurbano.com/


September 2008
Article published on A10 magazine #24 . Link here