elii [oficina de arquitectura]


108 · C C C I I I

Shared knowledge





A contest of ideas for the construction of a Biomedical Sciences building at the Universidad Carlos III

The new Biomedical Sciences building at the Universidad Carlos III melts seamlessly into the park. The building opens onto the linear park, its classrooms and work spaces facing it through an open, well ventilated space delimited by a light, permeable facade. The building sits in place respecting the pre-existing road, consolidating it as an inner street that articulates the relationship of the street with the green zone. This way, the part penetrates into the building, turning its very heart into a meeting space, a sort of covered town square. 

The proposal lines up with the main avenues by means of a strip around the perimeter that integrates offices and communications cores, providing a clear urban response that consolidates the existing streets as well as access to the green zone. As of that strip, the proposal is resolved by a comb-shaped layout that integrates classrooms and work spaces-terraces that empty out onto a sweeping central space, in a game of near and far volumes, generating a transitional space between the enclosed space of the building and the green zone.

The programmatic design proposes spaces prepared for the development of Blended Learning, based on in-person classes, autonomous learning and collaborative learning online. It features:

- Flexible, transformable spaces that provide different ways of being used.

- Direct accesses to common zones structured into terraces that open onto the central space. 

- Virtual Leaning Environments or LMS.

- Multimedia resources.

- Virtual communication tools.

- Spaces for videoconferences and webinars.

The spaces make it possible to use flipped classroom type methodologies, ways for competency-based learning and project based development, enhancing the learners' active role in the learning process. 

The entire construction is resolved using non-contaminating materials on the basis of lasting construction solutions that are also adaptable to modifications and changes in use. Recyclable, reused or recycled materials and components will be used. Wooden parts will have an FSC certificate of sustainability. Furthermore, active architectural strategies are advocated (controlled lighting and ventilation, optimized, controlled use of energy and resources, occupant-controlled temperature) as well as passive (high-efficiency multifunctional enclosure design; open, permeable central space, efficient use of vegetation) to lower energy consumption and ensure comfort of the aspects. Lastly, the energy strategy posed aims to reduce dependency on supply networks. A set of photovoltaic solar panels and thermal-solar panels located on the roof (on the southern face) will generate electricity and ACS. Rainwater will be collected and re-used to achieve a savings on water (50% in toilets and urinals and 40% in total, including washbasins and showers). Lastly, the building has a geothermal facility.

In order to increase resilience and dissipate the "heat island effect", the project calls for landscaping developed along ecological principles that foresees efficient gardening. 50% of the gardened space will be used for native or adapted species, thereby respecting biodiversity. Moreover, permeable surfaces will be installed, which are essential to infiltration, collection of rainwater and reducing the impact on the sewage networks. 


1. Fusion. A building that melts into the park. A park that penetrates into the building.

City, university, park.

2. Inner street. The building stands in place respecting the existing road, consolidating it as an inner street that articulates the relationship of the street with the park. Beneath the main level of the street is the parking lot for bicycles. 

The university in connection with the city, and vice-versa.

3. Approaches and distances. The volumes of the classrooms spread out in different positions, approaching and distancing themselves from the green space. This strategy is used to increase the relational possibilities between the inside and the outside while generating the indoor terraces.

The closer it gets, the farther away it is.

4. Shared knowledge. Space as a facilitator of Blended Learning, methodologies such as "flipped classroom", competency-based and project-based ways of learning. 

Spaces that stimulate the active role of the learners. 

5. Energy efficiency. The design calls for efficiency based on active and passive strategies that range from the general scale up to the smallest details. 

Dimension of inter-scale action.

6. Resilient spaces. The challenges of out times offer opportunities for coming up with innovative solutions toward new models that are both resilient and ecological.

Transforming our cities into more resilient spaces.

7. Basking in the sun. Present and future constructions are placed a precise distance apart to ensure that each building receives plenty of sunlight.

The sun cannot be covered up by a finger.

  • Architects:
  • elii - Uriel Fogué + Eva Gil + Carlos Palacios
  • Collaborators:
  • elii - Ana López, Lucía Fernández, Laura Barros, Telmo Sagartzazu
  • Developer:
  • Universidad Carlos III
  • Surface area:
  • 9.885m2
  • Date:
  • 2018
  • Location:
  • Campus de Getafe de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid