The corporate headquarters of the Swiss company Helvetia Insurance is located at the heart of the museums district of central Madrid. It is a seven-floor building with a basement located between party walls, with a single main façade along Paseo de Recoletos. Its initial composition was a typical floor layout organised around a central courtyard and two smaller side courtyards located within the party walls. The main objective of our intervention was to give the whole building more natural light. To do this we had to draw up a Special Plan to expand the dimensions of the courtyard while also ensuring that it reached down to the ground floor. The façades were to be made of glass to give the building an optimal level of lighting and ventilation. One façade in particular takes centre stage in that it forms a tilted curtain wall that seeks to maintain a constant level of sunlight on all floors.
The courtyard gives natural light to the whole building, has to be traversed by anyone on the way to the offices on the upper floors and establishes an attractive connection to the basement via a sunken area. A textile covering was used to allow light to pass through but not water, so that its use is enhanced in any season. This solution enabled the removal of obsolete inner courtyards and allowed the building’s vertical communication core to dialogue directly with the central courtyard.