Not only should the new Council offices meet the determined requirements of use, but it also should help define one of the most compromising environments of the city, as Vitiato square- where the building is located- is a compulsary stop in the touristic tour around Zamora. The proposal designs the fourth façade of the square, completing the architectonic complex formed by the Encarnación Hospital to the North and the Ramos Carrion Theatre and the Condes de Alba y Aliste Palace to the South.
The new office building is organized around a patio that allows to:
- Duplicate the rooms with a North-South façade and reduce the blind areas.
- Gain diagonal views to the square and its environment so that they become part of the inner life of the building, its tours and its relax.
- Generate an external wall image of the building, continuing the aesthetics of the square without losing any light requirements for the interior spaces.
The exterior walls, both to the street and of the patio, are covered in sandstone from Zamora, the same material traditionally used in the historic buildings of the city. This stone is used in a transventilated façade that, far from hiding its constructive system, shows its nature and the steel fastenings. For the lower base long pieces were used in order to recover the wall language of the area.
The flat roof was also covered in stone becoming another façade.
There are two kinds of window holes. On the one hand, to provide with enough light the interior spaces, big glass surfaces are opened only to the patio. On the other hand, in the walls facing the square and surounding streets vetical windows are used, so that the wall image is preserved. However, the building avoids enclosing itself to the patio thanks to a deep hole opened in the main façade that allows views and contact with Viriato square. This area can be accessed from the offices in the first floor and can be used as representative balcony for public activities of the Council.
The section of the patio enlarges as the building raises, so sunlight is guaranteed in all rooms opened to it. Also, two different floor levels are set on the ground and first floors, aiming to avoid views at the same level across the patio and giving independence to the different working spaces. The patio is design with sandstone walls, hedges and evergreen climbing plants that will remain green all year long. Dominating the scene stands a populus alba (white poplar). Given its thin high shape, it can be seen from all floors, and, as it is a decidious tree, its image will change through the seasons, protecting from direct sun in summer but allowing it in wintertime.
Neutral vinyl materials are used in the interior to outstand the contrast between the opaque character of the façade and the opening of the patio and to reinforce the personality of the local stone. The interior perimeter is covered in cupboards with shelves that will become living archives for the workers and will host all necessary supplies for their daily work. Therefore, the openings of the windows will be enhanced as they get deeper and remind of arrow holes facing the street.