Orona IDeO – innovation city is the flagship design of the new extension of the Technology Park of San Sebastian (Hernani, Basque Country, Spain). The purpose of this project is to house the company´s Innovation Ecosystem, which stands out as it brings together different synergetic activities –business, technology canters and university-. The project is an answer to the need of common networking space of an international company, creating a place that is both a flagship and a common home for its more than 4,500 employees and a hub for researchers and students on elevation, urban mobility, energy and eco-technology branches.
The project is based on the concept of the Urban Cell, which is a scale between architecture and urbanism that embraces a mixed-use project composed by four buildings. The approach of the project on this scale comprehensively tackle a number of key design issues related to urban space, green space, accessibility, orientation of buildings, a mix of uses and energy efficiency, among others. The design approach of all four buildings is environmentally sensitive and bioclimatic, and the strategy was to specialise each buildings situation seizing its assets to work synergistically to the whole. Thus, this design was conceived and developed taking into account a series of linked buildings and urban spaces.
The Zero building is the flagship building of Orona Ideo and houses the corporate headquarters of the company and its form is inspired by the circle, a constant shape in the company’s brand image. The design of the building seeks to evoque elegance, dinamism and elevation through an abstract formal gesture: a hollow cylinder of 90m in diameter, 16m in height and a 15º incline. It rises from the ground to create a 1.500m2 overhang at the entrance from the city and sinks on the opposite side, allowing passage through and generating a roof-façade for capturing solar energy.
Zero is mainly devoted to office spaces, which have large internal energy loads due to its occupants and to the density of the electronic equipment which dissipates heat and, at the same time, requires diffused light to avoid glare. The ground plan places the workplace near the outer façade which is mainly north facing, whereas the south-facing ring-shaped gallery distributes the flow of people and overlooks the building’s central void.
The curved façade is made up of a skin composed of more than 2,000 triangular pixels which change by means of a parametric design from: opaque, translucent and transparent, depending on their orientation, the incident to solar radiation, the access to external views and the privacy of the rooms. More than 1,000 polycrystalline photovoltaic modules are integrated on the inclined rooftop of the Zero building that will have an annual electricity output similar to the electricity consumption of 100 average flats. The interior of the building recreates different working environments from desks and closed meeting rooms to a series of lounge spaces suitable for informal meetings and personal work. These designs have the ability to imprint a special character to the working spaces and also seek to evolve the brand culture of the company among the employees.
The Foundation building is a “collage” building of around 10,500m2. The two lower floors are for common and shared facilities such as the canteen, auditorium, library and meeting spaces. Its façade onto the plaza acts as a backdrop for the public space and aims at being permeable and polyvalent. The two upper floors are for use as teaching facilities at graduate and post-graduate level in energy-related subjects like two new Eco-engineering bachelor degrees.
The A3 research building facilities encompass two prismatic volumes that make up one building, holding office space and laboratories aimed at research on advanced aplications on electrical storage systems. The laboratory building has a glowing U-glass façade, whereas the office building of the researchers has a more light-hearted, brightly-colored façade that helps provide diversity to the architectural ensemble.
The Gallery pavilion is an space for visitors and its purpose is to host open events and transmit the Orona Ideo philosophy whereas it is the access point for visitors to the energy facilities for producing energy from renewable sources: biomass, solar thermal, geothermal and photovoltaic.
The Plaza is an ensemble of intertwined urban spaces that describe a series of pedestrian areas welcoming researchers, workers and students who share spaces aimed at encouraging relationships and the exchange of ideas. The design of this urban space seeks to afford all of Orona IDeO’s building a recognizable character on the pavement and landscape through a striped design that raises the idea of the geological strata and the rich landscape of its setting.
The whole project has achieved Leed Gold and Breeam Excelent certifications and has been selected by the World Green Building Council as benchmark for Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices.
Nowadays the whole project is being monitored and research is being done together with the University of the Basque Country, with the aim to keep learning from the project as a Living Lab. Orona Ideo has being pointed out as a remarkable benchmark for Nearly Zero Energy Buildings by specialists in the field, specially because it is a real Zero Energy District with no fossil fuel consumption and a Zero Carbon Footprint.