Architects Enric Batlle and Joan Roig came up with a design wherein the roof of the project does much more than merely protect the interiors from sun and rain, adding a whole new dimension to the program.
Batlle and Roig, Arquitectes is an architectural firm which was set up by Enric Batlle and Joan Roig in 1981. Located in Esplugues de Llobregat, a Barcelona province, the firm is made up of more than forty professionals from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, engineering and technical architecture. Along with practicing architecture, Enric Batlle and Joan Roig are both university lecturers and have published several specialist books.
The World Architecture Festival 2011 turned out to be an exclusive mélange where the architects, suppliers and clients from around the globe participated in one of the world’s truly interactive global architectural awards event. The Waste Treatment Facility From Vallès Occidental in Vacarisses by architects Enric Batlle and Joan Roig won the 2011 Award in the category of ‘Production, energy and recycling’.
The clients of the project, Consorci per a la Gestió dels Residus del Vallès Occidental provided an overall budget of 74.000 €. The program of this project accommodated spaces for an office, a reception area, bio filters, a waste uptake area and three treatment plants for different stages of process. Spread in a 45 sq. m. area, The Waste Treatment Facility (CTRV, in Spanish) is located on a hillside overlooking the Coll Cardús massif in the municipality of Vacarisses, in the district of the Vallès Occidental, Barcelona, Spain.
This site is currently taken up by a controlled waste landfill site nearing its capacity limit. This fact has caused its managing body to consider regularising the closure of the facility and to study possible future uses for the area.
The choice of the location for the CTRV has also taken into account the different criteria of logistical and economic suitability as well as a minimisation of the environmental impact resulting from the installation and operation of waste management related activities.
The proceedings of the landfill site have led to several unfriendly topographical alterations and modifications in the natural environment. For this reason, the architects decided to establish the facilities in those areas where the activity of the landfill had already damaged the natural environment. Despite the size of the plant facilities, it is intended to achieve the highest landscape integration with the environment. In order to achieve this goal, they pursue a high topographical adaptation where the impact from roofs and facades is minimised by the subsequent landscape restoration.
The project primarily involved the construction of two large treatment areas under one large roof. The elongated roof which covered the entire treatment area visually expresses a driveway which bisects the program below with an angled step to adjust for the descending terrain. These areas, separated by a driveway, are different in height and sit at different levels. That is the reason why the roof changes its geometry according to the programs and dimensions of each purpose.
The rainwater collection and energy from the biogas generated by the processing of the trash sustains the building’s operations. A geometric pattern of assorted circles surfaces the extensive canopy containing vegetation, forced air vents and skylights. Native groundcover and shrubs are planted within the planters while intermittent gravel and earth filled modules add colour to the graphic arrangement. Over time, they will balance the impact of the facility without resorting to camouflage or mimicry.
The green wall next to the pre-treatment plant is constructed from galvanised mesh. The water from the surface vegetal ground runs off into a drain pipe at the bottom of the assemblage. The building uses the water and energy generated by the plant itself. The water mainly comes from the collection of rainwater and the energy needed is obtained from the biogas generated by the waste materials found at the neighbouring Coll Cardús landfill site.
Text By Kruti Choksi
Photographs Francisco Urrutia