Introducing Ombú, Timber Superstructure Makes Dezeen Shortlist

Project preserved more than 10,000 tonnes of material

Fri 13 Oct 23


Dezeen has announced its final “shortlist”, with entries now in the running for awards in 13 different architectural categories at the Dezeen Awards later this year.

Last month, Wood Central reported that more than 4,800 entries from 94 countries were received, with the awards “celebrating the world’s best architecture, interiors and design, studios, and individuals producing the most outstanding work.”

Among the 30 shortlisted projects for the Sustainability Awards is Ombú, a demountable timber structure inserted into a disused gas plant in Madrid, Spain.

The original building dates back to the early 20th century. (Photo Credit: Nigel Young)

Designed by British architecture studio Foster + Partners, the adaptive reuse project created a flexible tree-lined workspace for Spanish energy company Acciona and saved the existing brick building from demolition.

The plant is fitted out with 10,000 square metres of offices and incorporates urban greening and timber finishes.

According to Foster + Partners,’ the project provides “biophilic spaces” that “maximise employees’ wellbeing and its connectivity to nature.”

Outdoor workspaces were introduced. (Photo Credit: Nigel Young)

Reusing the original brickwork preserved more than 10,000 tonnes of material, with the timber structure easily recyclable and demountable.

It also creates a series of staggered floors integrating building services such as lighting and ventilation. 

As “one of the most sustainable projects by Foster + Partners,” it has successfully achieved a “1.0 Planet Ecological Footprint”.

This means that the project meets the requirements of Net Zero and is aligned with the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

A timber structure was inserted within its shell. (Photo Credit: Nigel Young)

“The design reduces embodied carbon by 25 per cent when compared to a new build over the whole life of the project while making allowances for future refurbishment.”

“The operational energy is calculated to be 35 per cent below normal expectations.”

The shortlisted projects were assessed by Dezeen’s sustainability jury, including fashion designer Patrick McDowell, industrial designer Jane Abernethy and architect Koichi Takada.

Projects are divided into the following categories:
Sustainable building
Sustainable renovation
Sustainable interior
Sustainable design (consumer)
Sustainable design (building product)
Material Innovation

The winner of each project category will be announced at a party next month, with winners of all six categories competing for the title of sustainability project of the year.


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    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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