SITUATION: Calle Orden de los Templarios, Mérida. >>Open in GOOGLE MAPS
DATES: competition (2008)
CLIENT: Consejería de Cultura y Turismo de la Junta de Extremadura
ARCHITECTS: José Antonio Carbajal Navarro, Nicolás Carbajal Ballell and Rodrigo Carbajal Ballell
COLLABORATING ARCHITECTS: Eva Muñoz Romero, Fernando Moreno Humanes, Ingvild Thommesen Sæbø and Tomás Osborne Ruíz

THE SITE is placed in the new expansion area of Mérida, in the opposite bank of Guadiana. It is not especially interesting except for the presence of the river. The project should point towards it and emphasise the relevant roll the river should star in the future development of Mérida.
THE PROJECT, intended to gather -in its warehouses-, preserve and order -with the labour in its workshops-, and spread -in the public areas- the document collection of Junta de Extremadura, tries to comply with all those requirements with a clear approach.
Taking advantage of topography, it organises the different specialized areas and the relations between them in a controlled but fluid way. A common structure makes easier mobility, future changes and orientation of visitors, but ensuring, as was required, that areas with different access rights (reserved, private and public) were absolutely independent.
Spaces are organised around patios, elements that provide natural light and ventilation, and moreover, calm and contact with the environment, something necessary for that kind of works, something that the close urban context can not supply.
A raised square with views over Guadiana and the design of gardens and common areas tries to strengthen the public areas and turn the center into a cultural activity focus in the city.
THE BUILDING will emerge as a sculpted rock, with different heights from both extremes. Documents, staff and researchers will entry the center by different levels: documents by the upper level, from Calle Orden de Santiago; staff will entry directly from parking or by the ground floor; finally, researchers and visitors will access through the raised square at first floor.
Placing the parking at the lower level of the site decreases the amount of excavation while allows the natural ventilation, thanks to the slope of terrain. The warehouses are distributed over the parking, far from dampness.
The three levels arrangement makes easier the organization of public areas: the main access for public and researchers is on the first floor, from raised square. Once in the lobby, researchers can go upstairs to the more controlled research and study areas while general visitors can go downstairs to exhibition areas, which besides have direct access from street in the ground floor.
The natural light and ventilation through patios, the solar photovoltaic roof or the use of local materials as granite stone are some of the strategies aimed to achieve an environmental-friendly and energy-efficient building, key elements of the project.

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