High Voltage Laboratory
by ACXT Architects


Crinkled polished metal wraps around this electrical testing facility in northern Spain by ACXT Architects (+ slideshow).

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

ACXT Architects designed the building for electricity firm Arteche to test dielectric transformers on an industrial estate north of Bilbao.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

Specific conditions are needed to conduct the tests, such as inner dimensions of 57 metres long, 30 metres wide and 27 metres high.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

A Faraday cage, an enclosure formed by conducting material, encompasses the testing hall that houses spheres of silver disks atop columns of various heights.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

A two-storey block containing meeting and observation spaces sits to one side of the main volume.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

These rooms have long windows into the large testing chamber so the experiments can be recorded.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

The facades of the smaller block are patterned with vertical stripes, mimicking the pleated metal wall behind.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

A couple of weeks ago we featured another laboratory in Spain that is hoisted up onto red metal stilts and we've also published a photography series documenting the architecture of science and research facilities.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

More pleated buildings on Dezeen include a wedding centre in Japan with a zig-zagging facade and Zaha Hadid's museum of contemporary art for Michigan State University.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

See more laboratory design »
See more architecture and design in Spain »
See more pleated designs »

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

The following text was sent to us by the architects:

This building is a High Voltage Laboratory, for testing dielectric transformers up to 850 kV, which requires to be a diaphanous vessel of 57m long, 30m wide and 27m high (inner dimensions), surrounded completely by a Faraday cage needed for the extremely precise measurements performed inside.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

The main hall can be divided into three main spaces, suitable for carrying out the Impulse and Resonant Tests, and SF6 equipment tests.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

Annex to the main space, there is a technical block with views into the testing room, which features two control rooms/reception, a meeting room and space for presentations and meetings for up to 60 people.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT

The new Laboratory is intended as both a laboratory of the most advanced technology in the sector, a representation of the ARTECHE bet on innovation, reflected in a polished metal facade that vibrates and breaks along its perimeter, allowing integration in a volume so important in the environment that is characterised by buildings significantly lower than this building, which reaches 30 metres.

High Voltage Lab by ACXT
Floor plan - click for larger image
High Voltage Lab by ACXT
Cross section - click for larger image
High Voltage Lab by ACXT
Elevation - click for larger image
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  • xxx

    The metal is beautiful. The striped entrance volume, not so much.

  • Desk

    It would be interesting to keep track of what goes on in there. That tesla coil is huge. Wouldn’t want to be standing around when the thing goes off!

  • Josh V

    It looks beautiful, but I’d be worried about glare issues for passing cars on that highway. I remember them having to sandblast Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall that had a similar mirrored finish.

    • christine

      Yes and we should worry about the surrounding landscape that would fry in sunny days. I like the idea, although I am not sure if the material is the right one.

      • edorta

        Sunny days in Bilbao? you must be joking! ;) Photographs are great, but I’m still missing one with the Tesla Coils throwing thousands of lightning-like plasma filaments all around!

  • http://individual.cl/ æon

    Almost a phantom.

  • Greenish

    This is so cool it barely looks real.