Civic Centre Lleialtat Santsenca

Three starting points: understanding the historic value of Lleialtat Santsenca (1928),an old working class cooperative in the Sants area; knowing to the detail the building’s physical state to maintain as much as possible; and being sensitive to the whole collaborative process launched in 2009 by neighborhood organizations to recover the building.

To this end, four basic objectives were set out: first, taking advantage of everything that could be used from the original; second, defining an intervention strategy marking out the essential actions, conservative or not, allowing to recover and increase the potential uses of all those spaces; third, to establish an intensive dialogue – and tense, if due – with context; and fourth, to develop a sustainable proposal, regarding the work on the existing as well as the new interventions.

The building consists of three structural bodies: the main one, onto Olzinelles and Altafulla streets, houses the two halls (old shop on the ground floor and atrium on the first floor); the central one has access from Altafulla street; and the interior one. The precarious hygiene conditions in the rest of the constructions, besides them being poorly connected, encouraged to propose a large longitudinal void, joining the three volumes and all their spaces – new and old – through a gradual progression, from the more public to the more private spaces. The void results from completely demolishing the centerline near the party wall to Olzinelles street, emphasized in the second structural volume by enlarging the existing patio. Finally, behind the last structural volume, a triple space contiguous to the void of the two previous volumes wraps up the sequence. The succession of voids configures an atrium limited by ‘new’ facades opposed to the existing party walls, which show traces of the building’s history. The atrium brings light and air to all the spaces, becoming the axis of the horizontal and vertical circulations, and offering new potential of use for unforeseen programs.

The existing roofs could not be used, so only the trusses were maintained. A new roof is built above the whole building, associated volumetrically to the structural bodies: three gable roofs, with cellular polycarbonate to the south and insulated metal sheet to the north, above a metal structure, illuminate and ventilate the atrium, with windows in the highest corners to favor natural convection. The Atrium is an intermediate bio-conditioned space that organizes all the circulations through a series of footbridges and stairs that evoke the image of the scaffolding in a construction site. The building thermally works through passive systems based on inertia and insulation. By increasing the volume of the roofs it is possible to increase solar gain: in winter heat is collected by a heat recovery system for interior spaces; these release warm air, tempering the Atrium. In the summer, the air in the top part of the atrium is reheated, forcing a convection which releases the hot air by opening the roof Ridge windows, actioned by automatic sensors. In the third body, due to the excess of radiation, a ventilated chamber with a sun filtre optimizes solar caption in winter and summer.