Compostra Headquarters

Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain
Antón Varela

Situated on a vast concrete landscape, the new building for Compostra Headquarters rests like a gentle giant. It extrudes out from the ground with its geometric volume, its pleated skin and majestic presence. The sky spans across the grey building, reflecting the colours of the ground below.

Designed by MRM+A with collaborating architect Antón Varela (MRM+A), the project responds to the functional programme of the Spanish distribution company Compostra. With the need for sizeable open-air parking for large vehicles, the built space is placed rightfully in the centre. The minimalist volume is a re-imagined warehouse, acting as physical storage and an observation platform.

Rectilinear lines run up and down the corrugated metal façades of the building, contrasting the tire marks' dynamic patterns. Punctured through the crisp surfaces is a modest amount of glass openings reflecting the surroundings. Inserted between the glass panels are wooden dividers, which signify the use of materials on the interior. Like a sculptural monument, each profile of the structure has its own face to form an intriguing visual interaction.

Upon entering the facility, the generous height brings in a large amount of natural light. It illuminates the space and further enhances the all-white palette. With an open plan free of large structural supports, Compostra Headquarters becomes a multi-use platform that carries a newfound airiness.

The interior is divided into two clear sections by a triangular concrete volume. While the storage occupies most of the floor area, the administrative zone is scaled down to create an intimate environment for private matters. As the former is held up with a thin armature, the latter is condensed within an interlocking system of laminated walnut panels. The introduction of wood gives a homely feel to the working space, emitting earth to the stark metallic planes.

The triangular volume becomes a partition. Its alcove embeds different functions such as private facilities, services, changing rooms, an office, and a meeting room. Right below, a small courtyard resides to let in the fresh air and natural skylight, visually connecting the space within to the outer area.

With the design of Compostra Headquarters, MRM+A referenced the notion of a home. Said idea is translated into the change in materials and the physical appearance of the project, challenging the familiar image of a carrier workplace.

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