Tabacalera Building Facade Competition

Competition for a new facade design in Valencia. Given was an institutional building, planned to be revovered and refurbished as high-standard housing. We provide an abstract envelop that distinguishes every unit while hiding it in an apparently disordered pattern. We therefore bring confusion and monumetality to the site by de-appropriating mental images that belong to building other typologies while responding to environmental and site requirements.

Main view, Tabacaler building Valencia

We manage to provide the same amount of light to all roms by using a "partition" algorithm.

Algorithmic resolution of voidsUnit variations

Unit: Variation 1

Unit: Variation 2

Unit: Variation 3

We proposed an automated construction process through prefabrication.

Algorithmic resolution of voids and construction


View from c/General Navarro Sangran

Extract from submitted programm brief.


The strategic location of the existing building and the consideration of the facade as an autonomous element are understood essentially in compositional terms.

The facade is therefore not a response to the use of its enclosed space, but rather as an interface. It is therefore responsible for the building's and ultimately city's identity, given its prominent location.

Aside merely formal considerations, we opt for a ystem that responses simultaneously to use, morphology, context and environment.

This way we create a complex system based on simple principles and pieces which are able to optimally respond to the initial point of departure and brief requirements. At the same time, we manage to provide a singular urban image that allows for multiple overlayed readings. We understand "composition" as "de_composition": abstraction, generic, autonomy.

Our point of departure is the existing facade of the "Fábrica de tabacos". If, as stated by Aldo Rossi in his "Architettura della cittá", that memory is one of the most identifying characteristics of the city, then the given condition cannot be ignored when proposing a new intervention -what unfortunately happens to the actual proposal that stands for construction. We account for the original distribution at two different scales: that of the brie-soleils which constituted the frame of every opening and a second one, that of the opening themselves. The project tries to de_compose such given structure. The result gradually breaks down from General Navarro Sangrán street towards América square.

The building takes scale from the closest costructions around. In this case, the facade adapts to the surroundings making use of big, free, regular  individual openings for every room. On the opposite side -facin América Square, the lack of constraints and references allow for playful scale variations. The image of the Paseo de la Ciudadela elevation exemplifies this double and paradoxical condition: voids multiplication implies a confusion about scale. The building is conceived as an abstract object, where its size is not clearly preceived.


Scripting techniques seem to be appropriate when dealing with complex problems and manyfold variables. We decided to design the facade using computational methods and write a series of algorithms that would optimize the above mentioned conditions while ensuring compositional freedom. Thus, we are not only able to control and verify a perfectly balanced sun distribution on the facade, but also an active response to environment conditions -such as views and other's building presence.

The facade has been programmed to only locate 6 different types of openings, which are applied throughout its entire surface. Opening frames respond to sun and view angles. The number of openings per room and their surface guarantees always the same void/enclosure proportion.

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