Architecture for commercial spaces

San Sebastián de los Reyes, Madrid, Spain

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Desert City

Jacobo García-Germán Vázquez

FAD Awards finalist 2018  Architecture
Description Technical file

The Jury’s appraisal: An emphatic and subtle project. Desert City is a multifaceted oasis: garden, greenhouse, plaza and bridge; a linear piece and an isotropic space; an emphatic metallic structure and a lightweight ‘tensegrity’; a picturesque cactus garden and a strict grid. Like the cacti, the building manages to prosper in a harsh environment, transforming the edge of the A1 road into a new and rich artificial-natural landscape.

Desert City is an exaltation of xerophile plants and of the production of a whole culture of associated interests and events. The project proposes a commercial, educational, sustainable and eco-friendly complex, with overlapping activities ranging from the display, growth and reproduction of cacti from around the world, in a large garden and greenhouse, to accommodating a variety of leisure activities such as presentations, small conventions, workshops and exhibitions. The building, in addition to the greenhouse and display and sale spaces, also contains a restaurant, a shop, offices and a store area.

These activities are housed in a single light-build container that in terms of scale and material responds to the nearby presence of the A-1 dual carriageway. A “poster building” parallel to the carriageway, acting as a filter and mediator between the dry and infrastructural condition of the A-1 and the boundary of the vast green space of the Regional Park of the Upper Basin of the Manzanares River on the opposite side. The complex is internally organised into a sequence of symmetries around a cactus garden configured like a cloister, which shelters new arrivals, and the greenhouse is covered in a roof of tautened cables designed according to the logic of tensegrity.

Despite its hybrid programme, the construction of the complex is systematised through the repetition, modulation and prefabrication of elements, resulting in a vast abstract skeleton spread out horizontally, communicating its intense internal operations and the veiled presence of vegetation seen from the car through an aqueous façade of tinted glass. The construction incorporates sustainable solutions such as photovoltaic and solar control glass, geothermal energy, water recovery systems and extensive nursery plantations on the site, which originally was a piece of waste ground.

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Localización Location: San Sebastián de los Reyes, Madrid. Spain. Autores Authors: GarciaGerman Arquitectos. | Jacobo García-Germán Vázquez, arquitecto. Arquitecto Técnico Quantity surveyor: Mario García Sanz. Colaboradores Collaborators: Marta García, Marta Roldán, Christina Christofidou, Paula Lizcano, Margot Roset, Victoria Álvarez, Andrea Gutierrez, Martha Sosa Dias, Lidia de Lucas, Raquel Díaz de la Campa, Miguel López, Laura Carrero, Celia Sánchez. Ingeniería Enginnering: Arenas Ingenieros | Felipe Fernandez Sanz. Promotor Developer: Desert City S.L. Constructora General Contractor: Isolux Corsán. Fotografía Photography: Imagen Subliminal | Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero.
Jacobo García-Germán
Miguel De Guzmán