Geode building, Barcelona
“This is both an office building with space to let and a huge glass geode.” That was how architect Octavio Mestre described this long-running project that explores glass’s properties and uses in depth. The brief included, among other things, a change of facade to give the building a more contemporary look and turn it into Colonial’s new flagship. Octavio Mestre had no hesitation in making the building envelope the project’s leitmotiv. Most work focused on transforming the facades, which needed to allow varying degrees of transparency. Along the length of the building’s street-facing sides run metal wings that evoke the veins of a living being, which is how the building is conceived. Those veins, which cross from floor to floor, create a sense of the building as an ethereal series of overlaid horizontal workspaces illuminated at night by LED lighting. Thus, when darkness falls it becomes a light box, a glittering geode.