Building of Control CCS in Ferrol, Spain by Diaz and Diaz Architects, 2010
Ferrol is a city in the northwest corner of Spain, in Galicia, on the Atlantic coast. Its location enabled the city to become a major naval center, especially from the shipbuilding taking place since the 18th century. A late 20th-century decline in this sector did not bode well for Ferrol, but the construction of an outer port and new highways this century has extended its reach in trade. Where Spanish naval ships were born, now the ubiquitous shipping containers come and go.
Diaz and Diaz Architects, in collaboration with Antonio Desmonts Sierra, designed a multipurpose building for the Port Authority and Control of the Outer Harbor of Ferrol, a three-story triangular building on a dramatic site, on the tip of a narrow pier jutting into the waters. The triangular shape and projecting roof seem to point ships towards the nearby port and Ferrol in the distance. Behind the building is the Atlantic, wide and open.
As the prow of a ship ready to weigh anchor and set sail, on the hammer of the main dock of the Outer Harbour of Ferrol, opened to the views of the estuary. -Diaz and Diaz ArchitectsUnlike the Lisbon Harbor Control Tower in Portugal, which reaches towards the sky like a contemporary lighthouse, this facility nestles itself in the site's concrete walls and bulkheads. At first glance this seems to be a rather subdued response to the dramatic site and visibility of the building and city itself. But the louvered glass walls and floating roof still make a fairly strong statement. Looking at these photographs, the space between the roof and the enclosed floors below looks like it would make a great event space, with panoramic views towards the inner harbor and the Atlantic.
According to the architects' statement, they were striving for "uniqueness and presence, functionality and flexibility, 'intelligent' and 'high-tech' building, economy and easy maintenance." These traits can be applied to just about any building designed these days, but the first two pair seems to predominate. The shape and stacking of the floors address the first, as described, give the building its unique prow-like appearance and a presence that is rooted yet ready to "set sail."