Flexible and demountable industrial constructions: the case of the Docks in Aviles Port, Spain
Among the cranes and pipes of Aviles harbour, a boat always awaits to weigh anchor towards the sea with its full load of shipping containers. However, this boat will never leave the Spanish coast, since a visionary group of architects turned it into a functional and flexible warehouse.We are in Asturias, northwest of Spain, where [baragaño] architects reinterpret a conventional storage providing an efficient and innovative alternative to the existing construction models.
The big building, a factory of the company ArcelorMittal, is close to the International Cultural Centre designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, and its façade faces the harbour and the city of Aviles for 120m of length.It is not a news that docks require lightweight and rational structures, able to grant a fast construction process and a reversible structural scheme. But the innovative idea of the architects is to create a flexible and demountable structure made of shipping containers, a typical image of the port environment.
A bolted steel frame bears the steel sub structure on which the modular panels of the shipping container are assembled, avoiding the use of welding and thus providing a reversible building solution. The panels cover the four vertical façades and the roof, in this way the number of the different construction components is radically reduced and every piece is interchangeable with the other.This scheme allows a simple relocation, since every element can be disassembled and transported to a new location using trucks commonly used for shipping containers themselves. In addition, this structure is also a flexible solution, because it can be expanded longitudinally simply removing one of the minor façades and increasing the number of spans.
Different colour nuances are alternated on the four façades, giving the perception of pixels and, from the long distance, breaking the big scale of the building and reintegrating it into the place.
Two of the façades, comprising the long one facing the city, are realized alternating the colours of the clients, the companies ArcelorMittal and AGP, while the other two façades present different gradations of the grey scale.The panels of the façades are made of reused and recycled metal and they stand over a black steel basement, with a polyurethane polyamide internal coating and no thermal insulation, since the industrial building works as a warehouse.
The coloured steel panels composing the façade are directly screwed to the secondary structure formed by cold-formed steel profiles. Everything is lightweight and structurally efficient, allowing the provision of a huge open space inside, with a logical and rational use of building materials and dry construction technologies.
The openings of the big warehouse are cut following the same structural grid of the panels, and the windows follow the same modular dimension too, allowing a simple relocation if needed.
Breaking the continuity of the pixelated façade, a metallic dark tower dominates the surrounding landscape. This element holds the logos of the companies and it delimits the roof, clearly visible from the planes that land and take off in the nearest airport.
The tower cladding is constituted of dark metallic sandwich-type panels, composed by two steel sheets 0.5mm thick and internally coated with 60mm polyurethane layer for thermal and acoustic insulation.
The dry screwing of the panels is conceived by an over-lapping system, in order to avoid panels from swinging while maintaining the visual solidity of the tower.The components of the building are all produced in local factories, using more than 70% of recycled material, created using an electric furnace system. In addition, as the storage is a dry bolded-steel structure, every part is totally demountable, reusable and recyclable.
This project is a marvellous example of industrial architecture, where manufacturing efficiency and flexibility are exploited to provide aesthetical and evocative solutions, with a particular attention to the rational and sustainable use of construction materials.
Do you have any ideas for temporary factories or warehouses? How would you make those more flexible and cost-effective?