Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández

Text description provided by the architects. Given the need to design a campus for the company called “Alcaraván Technological Systems”, dedicated to the development of software, hardware, and other technology-related topics, and with the information that there were 4 abandoned buildings in the city of San Juan de los Morros, Guárico state in Venezuela, the Federal Council of Government, a Venezuelan governmental entity, decided to refurbish 2 of these buildings to house the headquarters of the aforementioned company.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Exterior Photography, Facade
Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Interior Photography, Windows

This happened around July 2020, one of the most critical moments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, circumstances that would decisively influence the presentation, planning, and execution of the project. The instructions were clear and precise: the project should be presented in an estimated time of one and a half months, and the execution should be divided into 2 stages; the first stage would aim to adapt 2 existing buildings (referred to as buildings “02” and “03”), with a maximum execution time of three months, and the second stage would involve the construction of a new building (referred to as the “annex” building), with a construction time of 8 months.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade
Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Exterior Photography, Facade

Both stages would also involve the construction of exterior areas, landscaping, etc. The difficulty was conceived from the beginning, more as an opportunity to demonstrate that, with limited resources and restrictions, it is possible to logically and efficiently solve a design of these characteristics. Therefore, the project’s materiality posed a great challenge: that the materials be exclusively locally produced, and that simple inputs be used, seeking practicality, durability, and warmth.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Image 32 of 35
Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Image 35 of 35

Programmatically, the construction of an office building was proposed, which should also contain other areas of collective use, such as an auditorium, dining room, multipurpose rooms, and a food production school. It was proposed that buildings “02” and “03” would contain the majority of the program’s requirements, offices, services, and vertical circulations, understanding that these two buildings would be the first to be built, so the “annex” building would mainly contain activities for collective use.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Interior Photography, Table, Chair, Beam
Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Interior Photography, Chair, Beam

The complex would be developed on 4 levels: semi-basement level, ground floor, level 1, and level 2. The vertical circulations and internal distribution of the complex were planned around the two existing staircases in buildings “02 and 03” and a staircase that would connect to the semi-basement through the annex building. It should be noted that buildings “02” and “03” originally did not have elevators, a situation that was not changed as it is a low-rise building. In the case of the semi-basement level, it would contain activities for collective use, with independent access to the main entrance; the ground floor would contain more internal activities of the institution; level 1 would be for the main pedestrian access vestibule, which would be through an external staircase; this level would also contain uses related to all the activities of the complex.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Interior Photography, Handrail
Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Image 21 of 35

Finally, level 2 would contain the most private areas and exclusive access for the presidency and administrative areas and would be the only one not connected to the rest through the annex building. It is important to note that buildings “02” and “03” were originally designed for social housing, so they have very particular characteristics, such as structural axes spaced 3 meters apart and heights between slabs of 2.50 meters, making them spatially very limited. This means that the intervention in these two buildings involved the demolition of almost all existing walls, and considering the spatial limitations, the intention was to leave the areas as clear as possible for maximum utilization.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Image 24 of 35

The columns and beams were stripped of the frieze, leaving the concrete exposed. The mechanical, sanitary, and electrical installations in general of the complex would be installed in trays hung from the ceiling, which meant that cables, data racks, luminaires, and pipes would be visible, in addition to the practicality of doing it this way, the building internally would have a technological industrial atmosphere that goes well with the new use.

It should be noted that this complex is surrounded by impressive views, fields, and mountains very little intervened by man, where the natural monument of Los Morros de San Juan, located to the north, stands out, so being able to appreciate them from the interior was an important part of the design. Specifically, the facades had to function as a heat dissipator, so the building and its components would collaborate in avoiding unwanted thermal gains. The facades in buildings 02 and 03 were resolved with cement block sunshades, rustic friezes, and in service areas, perforated clay blocks.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Image 18 of 35
Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Interior Photography, Windows, Column

The windows in the work areas were designed as elements of variable height and arranged in an alternating manner according to the level and width of .50 meters, which allows, together with the window width and sunshade, the solar incidence to be minimized and have views to the outside in almost all work areas. Service areas for mechanical installations in general were located in the least favorable facades. The annex building is the connecting and unifying volume of the complex, developed with a square base plan of 15 x 15 meters; the structural axes are spaced 5.50 meters apart and overhangs of 2.50 meters on all facades.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Interior Photography, Dining room, Windows, Table, Chair, Beam

The levels between slabs are variable and range from 2.50 meters to 5.60 meters. It is developed on 2 levels and a semi-basement. The intention in structurally developing the building in this way was to be able to resolve differently, according to solar incidence and the internal use of each level, maintaining homogeneity in the complex, with sunshades built with concrete blocks, modulated perforated metal elements, as well as elements in poured concrete.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Image 17 of 35

Finally, the aim was to challenge the obsolescence of the building from a stylistic point of view, obeying the use of strictly functional processes effectively, producing a dynamic and logical composition in both plan and elevation, avoiding at all times the “ornament” as an element to generate contemporaneity in the complex.

Technological Cooperatives / Carlos Antonio Pérez Hernández - Image 7 of 35

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