Expansion and refurbishment of administration building National Centre of Microbiology

by José Enrique Fombella Guillem and Marta Pastor

The building to be refurbished was built in the sixties and had deteriorated to the point where it could no longer be put to its intended use. The project also includes demolishing blocks no longer fit for use and building an annexe for teaching areas and general campus facilities.

The project addresses the site development including the construction of a pergola to join some of the buildings that will be maintained.

The refurbished space will be linked to the new laboratory building and will be used for administrative purposes, mainly by research and administrative staff, and for campus management offices and meeting rooms and/or classrooms.

Landscaping works around the buildings, both to the south and to the north, will structure the pathways and access roads, replanting greenery and woodland in areas that are currently either neglected or occupied by sheds and obsolete infrastructure that will be removed.

Refurbishment work often presents an underlying problem that is difficult to solve, especially in the case of a building like this that has no architectural value. The aim is to know which parts of the building are to be maintained, which changed and to what extent the work costs more than demolition and new construction.

In addition to changing the use, the indoor space must be made interesting, while designing the exterior to faithfully reflect the current architecture, making it work for the intended use.

The compositional resources used for this building aim to remove the worst-affected parts while restoring others, rather like a surgical operation which endeavours to enhance the whole so that it can continue to be used and look good for many more years.

Exterior finishes will include different kinds of zinc, stainless steel mesh and white concrete to dilute the contrast with existing buildings on the Campus.

Architects: José Enrique Fombella Guillem and Marta Pastor
Location: Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain
Date: 2019
Photography: Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

Architects: Enrique Fombella


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The projects on this website represent the Studio’s two founding principles:
– Architecture as a social tool to humanise urban surroundings.
– Architecture as a tool to innovate – within the bounds of the client’s wishes – and freely exercise artistic expression as a contribution to culture through construction.

The community is central to the way we live, providing support where it is needed most. We believe the architecture that surrounds us should be considered as part of that community and in turn collaborate to provide for its needs.

On the other hand, we believe in the value of the architect’s vocation. Art adds value to everyday living, contributing a new, dynamic and stimulating dimension. Architecture as art can bring vibrancy, colour and imagination to our surroundings.

The studio designs to serve the community and bring art to the built environment.

This is why we have preferred to work on architectural projects that aim to benefit the community rather than those with a commercial interest; architecture with design potential; architecture on a scale that can be controlled from the studio during the whole process rather than resort to middle-men; useful architecture rather than architecture for show; economically-efficient architecture over extravagant architecture; architecture that displays logic opposed to architecture that hides its essence.