Scientific Centre for Marine Research

by David Minton Albero from Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de la Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain
Tutored by: Eduardo De Miguel, Vicente Corell

Author comments:

Tourist activity in the Mediterranean coast has experienced an exponential growth in the last 20 years and this has brought as a consequence an intensive, and generally unstructured, occupation of the coastline.
The project is situated in Peñiscola, Castellón, a place of special geographic and historic interest. With the positioning a public building the project aims to reconnect the disengaged coastline with the existing city structures.

The project creates a new seafront and places the research centre at the end of the promenade as a link for tourists, citizens and fishermen.

The design concept for the building solves all the functional requirements under one spatial container where each individual function is fitted in relation with its surrounding environment; ground, light, shadow and sea are the variables that will give each space its character.

The building is completely open in two fronts. In the North East looking out to the historic city through a courtyard and in the South West looking out to the sea. Both facades are setback several meters to create spaces of air that will protect the users from extreme sunny or windy conditions.

Sun and Shadow. From this start point architecture is rethought, looking for simple expressions in which architecture’s relation with its orientation, looking out to the sea or looking out to the city, with its location; with ground, sun, shadow, air and sea will be what determines space.

Tutor comments:

The project is an exceptional sample of urban scale problem solving and a display of good design based on site conditions. The proposed design reflects on architecture's deep relation with nature showing how a building can bring together sea and city. The solution is skillfully crafted through attention to detail and very fine material selection.

The building description is provided to the student with the space requirements for the research centre. The project bases its design concept on the similar functional requirements of the proposed spaces and considers the whole of the research centre as unitary space of work. This decision determines the container like building with open space coherently placed on the pier.

Throughout the process the student rethinks conventional solutions and deeply looks into which are the real needs architecture must attend. The institution or purpose of the building is ought to be defined. The research Centre stands as a link or meeting point between city, man and ocean.

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