SHIFTboston blog» Blog Archive » BLACK WITH A RED TOUCH


ZIG-ZAG* presents Metal Foundation, the black building-with-a-red-touch, among the five finalists for “Industrial Architecture” ArchDaily awards of 2011. According to its architect Sergio Baragaño, and founder of [baragaño] architecture firm, located in Madrid “the architecture was conceived from the memory of the place.”

Image 01. Black building-with-a-red-touch. Image source: [baragaño]

Image 03. “An industrial building that links the old memory, the factory area, the pipes, cranes, etc…with the city of Aviles, in an urban explosion period.” Image source: [baragaño]

The place of Metal Foundation is Avilés, a city in Asturias, Spain, where one can find Oviedo, the hometown of the architect too. The site is near ArcelorMittal steel factory, one of the biggest steel and mining companies in the world.

Image 04. Site in Avilés.  Image source: [baragaño]

Image 05. Schemes.  Image source: [baragaño]

Image 06. Exterior view.  Image source: [baragaño]

From the early drawings and models, there was a play with big pieces of steel and influences by Richard Serra, and Basque sculptors Eduardo Chillida, and Jorge Oteiza. ”Several slabs, containers of the program, move over each other, living placed to courtyards, squares, terraces, etc…”

Images 07, 08. Steel sculptures by Jorge Oteiza: “Metaphysical Box by Conjuction of Two Trihedrons. Homage to Leonardo” and Empty Box with Large Opening” (1958). Image source: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Similarly perhaps to Jorge Oteiza’s search for a Basque art (Cubism) into anthropological and historical characteristics, Sergio creates a contemporary architecture attached to both industrial and cultural local elements. From one hand it is influenced by the pipes, cranes, and steel plates, and from the other, it aims to become an alive building:

“It´s important to get an alive building, a building to be lived, with walking roofs over the city, the harbour, the sea…A building that can be used much more than the only timetable of the industrial park where is placed, a new space for Aviles.”

Its alive character is achieved in many levels. It is captured in its vivid black and red colors; in the courtyards, squares, and terraces interrupting the big complex; in the intersection of sliding volumes; in the penetrating red circulation; in its contrasting dark exterior-light interior character.


Image 09. Sections showing the courtyards, squares and terraces (among other information).  Image source: [baragaño]

Image 10. Descending red staircase interrupting vividly the interior courtyard .  Image source: [baragaño]

Image 11. In contrast to the dark exterior, Interior is full of light .  Image source: [baragaño]

[baragaño]  reports about the steel material:

“The steel structure and the installations are naked, in order to be shown in the different courses that the Foundation Metal will teach in. Steel is the chosen material and main character on site. Not only because the building is for Metal Foundation, it´s also a material in the memory of the place and of Aviles.The steel structure that forms the building is produced by electrical oven in ArcelorMittal factories, what means that is 100 % recycled and 70% coming for recycling. It´s a screwed structure, what allows the renoval of the building, if it would be necesary in a near future. The record timing to rise the building structure [6 weeks] it’s only possible with steel…”

Image 12. Structural sections and structural elements.  Image source: [baragaño]

“…The profiles are mainly IPE y HEB, HEA, part of them cellular beams ACB, that allow the pass of installations in the building. ACB are mainly placed on ground floor, in the workshops area. The composite steel decks for concrete slabs, will also improve the timing on site. Cladding is planned starting from a module of 30 cm, with st cassetes profiles and st Lumiere perforated profiles in black. These profiles have been designed by the japanese architect Toyo Ito.”


The atmosphere of the building, resembling to an art performance space or a trendy urban meeting spot, is captured in the theatrical or simply dramatic photographs of Mariela Apollonio. They definitely describe the vision of the architect:

 ”A set of black volumes, meets with the visitant, opening to the south, to the city. The red color runs in the accesses to the building and in the circulations, remaining the sensations of the steel production. Inside, the light floods the building, contrasting with the darkness outsider.”

Image 13. View of courtyard.  Image source: [baragaño]

*ZIG-ZAG is a series of two-fold posts that present one project (ZIG) and their creator (ZAG). SHIFTboston’s readers can participate in the process by submitting their questions and comments (ZAG), or to pinpoint interesting projects or their projects for exploration (ZIG). Previous ZIG-ZAG: here

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