The existing building is an empty container characterised by a strong concrete shell with limited connections to the outside. The key idea behind the proposal is to preserve the introverted character of the building and its nature of being a container while establishing a strong connection with the external spaces.
Instead of occupying the internal space by defining the volumes of the different rooms, it is chosen to first design the empty spaces, which become the real protagonists of the internal environment. This approach leads to the definition of the long foyer running along the southern façade and the central atrium. Both these elements run through the internal volume of the building and extend to the outside, defining a stronger connection to the outside environment.
On the raised ground floor level the barriers are reduced to the minimum in order not to visually compress the space and improve the way finding. Externally, the concrete envelope remains almost untouched, with the exception of the new entrance on East side and the conversion of the existing skylight on the North side into a more reserved exit.
Given the limited possibility to create new openings on the external envelope, the internal spaces are lit up through skylights installed on the roof. The main one is placed above the central atrium, thus, illuminating this area and all the spaces directly connected to it.
Gross Internal Area