Distrito C, Telefónica’s Headquarters is a largest European corporate project designed by Spanish practice Rafael de La-Hoz Architects.
Distrito C also represents the first private open European space. The campus is open 24 hours a day, all year long, for anyone to visit… Conceptually, an environmental canopy or roof is laid out between these cubes, to unite, cover and delimit the perimeter of the Campus.
Rafael de La-Hoz Castanys
+ Project description courtesy of Rafael de La-Hoz Architects, text by Rafael de La-Hoz Castanys
To the north of Madrid, at the end of a new urban development known as “Las Tablas”, the new Telefónica Headquarters, known as Distrito C, will house all the employees of the company – 14,000 people – in one single corporate campus, for the first time in the firm’s history.
Las Tablas is a large residential area, with a low density, which was built very recently on private land, without any special intention behind the planning.
Spatially and conceptually, Distrito C absorbs very little of this environment. An essential element of a Campus is its pedestrianised areas and this clearly is in contradiction with the new development of Las Tablas, given that that project was designed for low density and therefore puts the car forward as the main means of transport.
Consequently, not only does the campus have a pedestrian structure: it forgoes the option of defensively closing off the perimeter from the surroundings, unlike much corporate architecture.
The administrative buildings are distributed around a canonical patio or atrium – the Lawn of the campus – according to a system of additions for two different hierarchies.
The hierarchy for the strict corporate programme – surfaces and utilities – and the hierarchy that sets out to favour and organise the employees’ social and cooperative activities.
In order to create this atmosphere of cooperation and engagement, four open areas or squares that are set out in the corners of the premises serve as extensions to the Central Atrium.
Three buildings are distributed around each of these squares, as a new addition: two small buildings and one cube-shaped building, which delimit the squares and the total limits of the Campus at the same time.
Conceptually, an environmental canopy or roof is laid out between these cubes, to unite, cover and delimit the perimeter of the Campus.
Covered with photovoltaic panels, this canopy of 3.8Ha captures energy – approximately 18% of the total consumed on the premises – and, more importantly, provides shadow for the façades and squares.
The space of the four squares appears then as the geometric installation of a precise distribution of planes of vertical façades and a horizontal roof, which, at the same time, protects the reduced social universe into which the Company’s scale is fragmented, acting as a pedestrian access of its own and independent in each square.
As a consequence, each of these four smaller ranges are connected to each other through the Main Atrium, which entrusts its vibration and environmental quality to this convergence, to the circulatory crossings between squares and to the activities in the public underground station, which, as it is set out in this space, not only guarantees the functionality of Distrito C, but symbolises its public and open calling.
This private and public central atrium establishes a spatial dialogue with the smaller squares and with the exterior public space as well, so as to connect, and not only conceptually, Las Tablas with Alcobendas.
In order to achieve this, the two main buildings of the Campus are moved away. One being suspended from the roof and the other using the topographic profile of the land as a support, in such a way that the interior space of the atrium is in contact with and absorbs the exterior public space.
The social connections of the atrium are therefore guaranteed as the Northern and Southern sides of the new district are freely connected.
All of the buildings on the Campus are situated delicately over this framework of patios, squares and Atrium, surrounded by a dynamic double façade system that is common to the whole Campus.
A new type of glass developed specifically for this project – SUPERDUAL DISTRITO C – that appears transparent from the interior and opaque and clear from the exterior, provides contrast – bright-dark – to the shadow projected from the system of vertical sunshades that link the two façades structurally, making it visible to the eye.
Without forgoing the shiny and transparent qualities that are intrinsic to glass, this glass is also – due to its opaqueness – a visible support for the construction system – the sunshades – which acquire an ornamental quality as they are projected calligraphically over the façade.
+ Project credits / data
Name of the project: Telefonica´s District C
Location: Las Tablas, Madrid
Address: Ronda de la Comunicación s/n 28050 Las Tablas (Madrid)
Promoter: Telefónica de España S.A.
Built-up surface: 390,000 m2
Date of project: 2002
Start date and end date of the works: 2004-2008
Architect: Rafael de La-Hoz Castanys
Project Directors: Hugo Berenguer, Siegfried Bürger, Francisco Arévalo, Miguel Maiza, Jesús Román, Carolina Fernández and Belén Rivera
Management Directors: Rafael Quintana and Manuel Doménech
Works Directors: Pilar Anastasio, Daniel González, Concha Peña y Félix Falcone.
Landscaping Director: Marion Weber
Master Plan: Jesús Román, Hugo Berenguer and Margarita Sánchez
Collaborating Architects: Conchi Cobo, Beatriz Heras, Gonzalo Robles, Jacobo Ordás, Guillermo Vidal, Ascensión García, Javier Amrbruster, Karmen Marco, y Luise Wiegand.
Technical Architects: Amaya Díaz del Cerio, Mercedes Esteban, Isabel Fernández and Rafael Vegas.
Graphic design and models: Luis Muñoz, Fernando Mont, Víctor Coronel, Diego Mordkowicz, Camille Vidal, Álvaro Rivera, Ángel Arroyo y Daniel Roris.
Structures Engineering: NB 35
Installations Engineering: Rafael Úrculo-Pgi
Landscaping Project: Land (Landscape Architecture Urban)
Façades: Estrumaher S.A.
Steel structure: Martifer
Project Management: Bovis Lend Lease
Construction Company: UTE “CIUDAD DE LAS COMUNICACIONES” (Joint Venture).
Formed by: Dragados and FCC Construcción S.A.
+ About Rafael de La-Hoz Castanys
Born in Cordoba in 1955, Rafael de La-Hoz graduated in architecture from the Higher Technical College of Architecture of Madrid, and went on to obtain an MDI Masters in the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Rafael de La-Hoz now directs his own architectural studio and participates in town planning projects and important architectural works in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates. Many of his projects have been the results of national or international architectural competitions.
His most recent awards include: the COAM (Distinction from the Official Architects’ Association of Madrid) 20079 and 2007 Distinctions for Architectural Works; The “2007 International Work Award” for Telefonica’s Distrito C, awarded at the XIst Biannual of Argentinean Architecture (Buenos Aires); The Award for Innovation in the “Quality, Architecture and Housing Awards” 2005 and 2006 of the Community of Madrid; the “Bex Awards 2005” (Greece) in the Technological Innovation” category and the “American Architecture Awards 2004 of the Chicago Antheneum (USA)”.
He is a visiting professor at the Universidad Camilo Jose Cela, and is a member of the Editorial Council of the COAM Architectural Magazine.