Miño-Sil Hydrographic Confederation Headquarters



The headquarters of the Miño-Sil Hydrographic Confederation are located on a site on the border between the city and the Miño River. Its spaces form part of both areas. Its volumes adopt sculptural forms that form the front of the city as an entrance and a farewell to it. The whole site becomes an icon of the relationship between the city's landscape and the territory. Its silhouette is that of the sloping roofs of the farmhouse and, at the same time, refers to the cuts in the river basin it represents. Both landscapes merge in its façades. The materials allude to the aquatic transparency and the solidity of the stone superimposed with different intensity.

The ground floor opens up as diaphanously as possible to eliminate the border between the city and the river. The view through it hardly finds any obstacles because most of the areas of access and attention to the public are enclosed with glass walls. The opaque built volumes, as vertical communication cores and service units, are carved with the intention of opening the panoramic view through the building and around it to the maximum.

The site can be crossed by several routes between the glass access volumes and the garden areas that merge with the rest of the green areas in the surroundings. From the city, the building can be accessed in a foreshortened manner from the roundabout. The singularity of its forms makes the presence of the building stand out in the city from this perspective. The geometry of the buildings on the ground floor directs the routes to access the building, cross it or border it.


The geometry is an echo of the irregularity of the site, and is also projected onto the vertical planes. The volumes have been carved according to the spatial needs, according to the height of each floor, and superficially, according to the parts of the programme. The cracks and gaps between the volumes provide multiple spatial experiences without closing the view between the river and the city.

The fragmentation and combination of several volumes allows the scale of the building to be adapted to both the farmhouse and the natural environment. It also favours independence between the different parts of the programme in the operation and use of the building. Each one of the prisms corresponds to a block of the programme. On the lower levels, the intersection between the masses gives rise to spatial continuity in plan and facilitates connections at common points in the programme. On the upper levels the different units are spatially isolated.

In all its floors, references to the city and the river are merged. In all cases the transparent and opaque enclosures are combined and superimposed, providing areas for public and private use. This differentiation is supported by the irregular geometry through the reflections it causes. Three different types of interior space can be distinguished, which can be combined according to the needs and evolution of the building. In any case its distribution is along the perimeter so that all of them receive natural light from the façade. The open spaces are the deepest, even communicating both facades through the building.

The open spaces, destined for common and transit areas, open up to the landscape and the city clearly through windows. At specific points their openness is underlined by gaps that connect several floors. Another type of space is destined for the elements of the programme that allow for teamwork. It is characterised by its insulation with glazed enclosures with a lower degree of transparency. With the meeting of different non-orthogonal geometries, reflections  are achieved that prevent having a clear vision of these spaces, their character is more crystallographic. The last type of space is the one that requires a greater degree of privacy, destined for offices and closed meeting rooms. In these spaces the surface is more compartmentalised and, in order to achieve this, opaque and translucent screens are used. Only the vertical communication cores are clearly opaque and fixed volumes, the rest guarantees the flexibility and versatility that work centres need, as they are in constant evolution.

In order to increase the diaphaneity of the ground floor, the uses required in the program for this level have been split into several heights, decreasing the built area of this floor. However, the connection through an open staircase gives spatial continuity to these levels, making access as fluid as if it were at the same height. The access level houses all the uses required on the ground floor except for the laboratory and the conference room, which are now on the semi-basement level with natural light and ventilation. On the other hand, the access to each administrative unit rises to the first floor, which serves as a relationship space between them, but separating it from the areas open to the external public.

The superimposition of the aquatic transparency and the solidity of the stone of the facades are built by bending the glass walls in certain areas. The distribution of these areas will be in accordance with the zoning of interior spaces and the need for solar protection that requires certain orientations. Depending on these parameters, and in order to increase the versatility of the sensitive effects of the overlaps, the stone and glass surfaces will be arranged alternately inside and outside.

Ponte Lebrona s/n, Orense 

7,740 m²

9 storeys


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Paseo de la Castellana 151
28046 Madrid, Spain

email: info@rwa.es
phone: +34 915 718 330


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