Page E1.1 . 17 March 2004                     
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    Barcelona Runs Deep

    by ArchitectureWeek

    The Poblenou area of Barcelona is experiencing a renewal. As the doorway to the site for the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures with themes of cultural diversity, sustainable development, and world peace this traditional industrial district is taking on a new technological focus.

    The district's newest building is the headquarters for Barcelona Activa, also known as "BCN@ctiva," a municipal organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurs and new businesses. Appropriately, the 110,000-square-foot (10,000-square-meter) building itself has become a demonstration of technological imagination.

    In its four aboveground stories, the concrete, aluminum, and glass building by R+B Architects houses offices, meeting rooms, and a small auditorium. Rifts in the adjacent plaza allow daylight to penetrate to the below-grade floors.

    But deep below the apparently horizontal building is the key to its uniqueness: a complex hydrological system that fuels the building's climate control systems, and that of neighboring buildings, while addressing several other problems at the same time.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Barcelona Activa was designed by R+B Architects to be heated and cooled by tapping into the water table.
    Photo: Eva Serrats

    ArchWeek Image

    Two wells feed water to three buildings on the site.
    Image: R+B Architects

     

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    to view full-size pictures.

     
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