Diagonal 530

Location Barcelona (Spain)
Client Inmobiliaria Colonial, Socimi, SA
Year 2022
Status Completed-Built
Typology Workplaces
Photography Adrià Goula
Team Fermín Vázquez, Pablo Garrido, Magdalena Ostornol, Gala Núñez

The Diagonal 530 building, the former headquarters of the Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad of Barcelona, was built between 1968 and 1973 based on the design by architect Xavier Busquets i Sindreu. The building and its characteristic double-skin façade with movable glass sunshades constituted an interesting example of modern architecture of the second half of the 20th century which, like many other cases of the era, has required a series of refurbishment works to correct its physical deficiencies and update its features, including the intervention by b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos, which focused exclusively on the renovation of the outer skin of the façade and the integration of a photovoltaic installation on the roof.

Renovating a façade of this type is not usually easy. The challenge was to combine the respect for its compositional features and most valuable material qualities with the renovation of its appearance and the improvement of its performance, or, in other words, to find a delicate balance in which the building can be seen as new, but at the same time remains the same.

In this case, the limitations of the outer skin were varied: lack of security of the slats, deterioration and loss of mobility of the mechanical rotation system, low luminosity of the glass and a certain visual decadence. The intervention proposes a formal stylisation and an improvement in the quality of the glazing, increasing its safety and light transmission without losing solar protection. As a result, the mobility of the slats becomes unnecessary, thus rationalising the cost and future maintenance. The sunshades reproduce the characteristic “sawtooth” geometry of the original façade, adding slight tonal changes to the play of reflections of the glass to accentuate the horizontality of the whole; an architectural proposal for the 21st century that recovers values from the past.