BSV were appointed as architects by the Ministry of Economy in Zaragoza, after an open competition launched in 2003. The new 27,000m² complex of buildings that has been recently completed is located in downtown Zaragoza and will house the offices for the Ministry of Economy for the region of Aragón.

The complex occupies a full city block located in a highly dense area. It is composed of three different interconnected buildings with four, five and eight floors respectively.

These building volumes are located with reference to the public square facing the main street, creating an extension of the public space into its gardened plaza, which also allows natural light illuminating the building’s main façade.

The buildings sit on a common podium basement, which is clad in a local limestone, and which houses four levels below ground for parking and service areas. Sunken gardens (cours anglaises) at the foot of the façades allow daylight to penetrate into the rooms on the first basement floor.

All three buildings were designed and constructed to provide the maximum efficiency and flexibility of the space. The Client’s brief drawn up in 2003 called for a sustainable and highly efficient building in terms of energy consumption.

Among the aspects of sustainability considered, was the performance of the façades. These were carefully analysed, and glazing, sun shades and other materials were chosen in function of their orientation.

The northern façades are protected from the low summer sun by using either highly reflective glazing or opaque materials.

The southern façade is shaded by certified wooden louvers, i.e. wood originating from a sustainable cultivated forest.

Natural light was another major concern in the design, and for example each floor of the southern façade has a highly reflective light shelf, enabling natural light to penetrate deep into the office space, thus reducing the need for artificial lighting.