The Campus Diagonal-Besòs forms a compact, carefully designed urban unity, located at the crossing of Diagonal and Ronda Litoral. The Hall of Residents wants to play its particular role as “social hub” in this Campus; a place with large communal facilities and a pleasant home for a diverse population of students, guest professors and researchers.
The contours of the site are sharply defined along the lining up of several buildings at both sides of the emblematic central wooden deck. This deck symbolizes what this campus wants to be: a harvest of interchange of knowledge and ideas, of education and research.
The Hall of Residents takes a particular place in the number of buildings of the Campus. It is the only building that will be permanently inhabited. Therefore it looks for an expression that underlines the conviviality with a glimpse of informality. The generous covered entrance area is an extension of the wooden deck, leading the resident and visitor elegantly towards the inner functions of the building. The opening up of the view onto the garden at the street side, intensifies this welcoming gesture.
The building is conceived around a central open space. This courtyard invites an overwhelming crystal-clear daylight. The repetitive juxtaposition of student residence-units spreads out alongside the patio, forming by doing so a patio for a charming conviviality between its residents, protected from the noisy Ronda Litoral. The patio reaches to the -1 level, offering extra qualitative spaces for communal use.
The volumetric strategy of the building is largely defined by the geometrical constraints imposed by the building regulations. In order to guarantee a fluid alignment of the buildings along the Ronda Litoral, the contour of the building is cantilevered from the level +2 upwards. These results in an articulated volume provided with a proud two-stories high plinth along the road.
The height reduction of the volume on the northern side along the wooden deck is urban-wise a very productive restriction, offering a lower scale at the heart of the campus, a reference height connecting the different buildings in their volume and an extra terraced space with a pool.
The ground floor level is provided of a restaurant situated alongside the deck. The covered entrance area of the building gives way to a comfortable and pleasant terrace in extension of the restaurant.
Student residences have by definition a repetitive character. The structure and the façade design show clearly this modularity. In an attempt to punctuate the residential character of the building though, the repetitive position of the windows is blurred by the aluminium moveable sunscreen panels offering a more playful façade.
Precast panels combined with bronze aluminum panels for the fixed claddings. In this way the building will express its proper residential characteristic but plays with the textures and colors of the existing buildings.
The identity of the Campus as a coherent quiet, refined but powerful urban unity is respected. The hall of residents adds another sculptural volume, as one of the keys of this exiting chessboard.