High Voltage Laboratory by ACXT Architects
Crinkled polished metal wraps around this electrical testing facility in northern Spain by ACXT Architects (+ slideshow).
ACXT Architects designed the building for electricity firm Arteche to test dielectric transformers on an industrial estate north of Bilbao.
Specific conditions are needed to conduct the tests, such as inner dimensions of 57 metres long, 30 metres wide and 27 metres high.
A Faraday cage, an enclosure formed by conducting material, encompasses the testing hall that houses spheres of silver disks atop columns of various heights.
A two-storey block containing meeting and observation spaces sits to one side of the main volume.
These rooms have long windows into the large testing chamber so the experiments can be recorded.
The facades of the smaller block are patterned with vertical stripes, mimicking the pleated metal wall behind.
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.
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.
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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.
The main hall can be divided into three main spaces, suitable for carrying out the Impulse and Resonant Tests, and SF6 equipment tests.
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.
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.