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Edificios musicales

Saint Giles Renzo Piano Tecnne

Tribunal Central St. Giles, Renzo Piano

Una de las características que resume la integridad de la obra de Renzo Piano es su aplicada condición de artesano tecnológico, cualidad que pone en evidencia ante la resolución de cada uno de sus diseños, conjugando la actitud respetuosa en el uso de materiales locales con la aplicación de la más avanzada tecnología. Este proceso, que lleva a cabo mediante el análisis minucioso de cada parte o elemento componente, esta mediado por una metódica forma de intervenir en el contexto que se desarrolla.

Esa condición metódica adquiere un comportamiento singular en el diseño del Tribunal Central St. Giles, donde Piano propone una actitud estridente para revitalizar el área urbana donde se desarrolla la obra, seriamente afectada por la precariedad ambiental de la traza que lo contiene. El proceso de trasformación que promueve desde su arquitectura, está fundado en dos conceptos que su arbitrio prioriza sobre cualquier otra variable: la permeabilidad del edificio y la vitalidad de sus matices.

El primero se acciona mediante una operación que opone a los macizos bloques existentes de las manzanas linderas, un edificio que recompone el límite de la calle con una serie de volúmenes menores articulados por vacíos entre sí, en torno a un patio central. Esta conjunción se practica mediando un delicado equilibrio entre partes que respetan las alturas de los edificios cercanos. De este modo, el edificio alcanza una porosidad límpida que permite la mixtura franca con el trazado, dominado por la sucesión laberíntica de pasajes irregulares que datan de la época medieval.

Saint Giles Renzo Piano Tecnne

Los vacíos que articulan cada uno de los cuerpos construidos, propician múltiples perspectivas visuales desde y hacia la calle, alcanzando una mayor riqueza en términos de espacios funcionales y haciendo participe el patio interno de la actividad urbana.

El segundo concepto se resuelve de manera vibrante. Piano propone contrastar el gris dominante del contexto mediante el uso de un revestimiento de cerámicas vitrificadas que recubre las fachadas exteriores del edificio, siguiendo una secuencia en brillantes tonos de rojo, verde, naranja y amarillo. El empleo de este tipo de materiales permite mantener un brillo inalterable con el paso del tiempo, pero además permite que el agua de lluvia se escurra con rapidez por la superficie vitrificada, arrastrando la suciedad que acumula en sus lados.

Saint Giles Renzo Piano Tecnne

En el complejo Saint Giles conviven un bloque de 109 viviendas y otro con 37.000 m2 de oficinas, sobre un basamento transparente destinado a locales comerciales y restaurantes, donde el patio interactúa con la vida urbana de manera convincente. Sin embargo, lo que convierte al complejo en una de las obras singulares de Oxford Street es la audacia de Piano. Su diseño adquiere una connotación extraordinaria, salpicando el sitio con matices vivaces y proponiendo un punto de referencia que desarticula el carácter sobrio del lugar. Una estrategia contextual positiva que es consecuencia de introducir edificios musicales en una zona donde los silencios resultaban abusivos.

“Quería construir un edificio que sonriese. Un día iba por una calle próxima y vi tiendas en las que vendían edificios musicales de colores muy bonitos: amarillos, rojos y azules”. Renzo Piano (EFE)

Marcelo Gardinetti, 2014©

Situated between Covent Garden and New Oxford Street in central London, the Central St Giles development replaces a massive, unloved, impenetrable block of former government offices, with a permeable, vibrant, sculptural mix of volumes containing offices, apartments, restaurants and retail. Central St Giles fits well with its urban context, responding to the shapes and colours that surround it.

Surrounded by conservation areas (although not one itself), it was essential that this sizeable new development fitted in to the scale and streetscape of this old area of central London. Breaking up the solid island site into a series of volumes, respecting surrounding building heights and creating access onto and through the development were just some of the ways this was done.

Glass, steel and ceramic are the principal materials used in its construction. The 22 brightly coloured facades, made of 121,000 glazed ceramic tiles, are perhaps the most striking feature of the project. Ceramic sections in yellow, red, orange or lime green alternate with recessed glazed facades to fragment each building’s overall mass. Roof terraces and the buildings’ irregular shapes add to the impression of a collection of smaller buildings side by side, echoing the variety of building styles found locally.

The two buildings, one residential and one for offices, surround a new public courtyard, the heart of the Central St Giles project. Here, around a big oak tree, restaurants and cafes spill out into the open and animate the space. Pedestrian access onto the island site is encouraged via five passageways, creating a number of new linking through-routes.

The ground-floor restaurant units are conceived to be as transparent as possible. Fully glazed in low-iron glass, the 6m high facades give views into the courtyard and through the development, particularly from St Giles High Street, emphasising the permeability of the site.

The complex includes 8400 sq m of residential space: 56 private apartments and 53 affordable housing units occupy a 14-storey building on the western edge of the site.

The 38,000 sq m of office space is divided over ten floors, each with a generous 2.9m ceiling height. The offices also benefit of a roof terrace on floors seven to ten where rainwater is collected and stored for irrigation.

Central St Giles scored an “Excellent” BREEAM rating for sustainability: 80% of heating is from a Biomass boiler, rainwater is collected and reused, and the planted roof terraces add to local biodiversity.

©Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Fotografías: ©RPBW

Artículo relacionado: Refrendar la topografía

TECNNE  |  Arquitectura y contextos


 

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