At Estudio Lamela, sustainability is the search for a balance between ecological, economic and social objectives. We understand the need, today more than ever, to create an environment around our buildings where resources are utilised to the maximum and the impact of the construction on health and the environment is kept to a minimum throughout the life of the project.
From the Astro Tower (Belgium) and the Airbus ‘Futura’ Campus in Getafe (Madrid) to Centro Canalejas (Madrid), Nestlé House (Warsaw) and the Discovery Building (Madrid), sustainable architecture has been our hallmark for more than a decade. Antonio Lamela (1926-2017), founder of the Studio, was already a visionary who spoke of architecture and environmentalism (he coined the terms Cosmoism and Geoism) more than 50 years ago, before the concept of “green” even existed.
At its core, it is a commitment to the environment aimed at constructing bioclimatic and sustainable buildings that are inevitably more economically efficient.
“It is about consuming better” – Carlos Lamela
Sustainability is the answer to a new way of understanding architecture and life: “It’s not about stopping consuming, but about consuming better, with energy savings, energy efficiency and renewable energies as objectives”, reflects Carlos Lamela, president of Estudio Lamela.
For this reason, the office analyses all projects from a global point of view and takes into account every detail of their integration. In fact, the benefits of sustainable buildings are numerous: they use energy more efficiently, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, lower energy consumption and demand, and contribute to sustainable development. We do not have to stop consuming energy but we do must do it in a different way, always with the aim of saving energy.
For a building to be sustainable it needs to consume almost no energy and be constructed of fully recyclable materials; there must be a precise study of the climatic and environmental conditions; the composition of the façades should be based on their orientation; and it requires a search for the genius loci to create a unique architecture appropriate to the time and place.
In fact, in order to design a bioclimatic, sustainable and low-energy building, Estudio Lamela has a working methodology based on:
This is the study of climatic and sunlight data. Each building must respond to the environmental and climatic conditions where it is located.
This entails the study of all the elements of the building. To design a sustainable/bioclimatic/energy-efficient structure, all aspects of the building must be worked on together.
Reduction of energy demands
This involves applying passive measures to reduce the building’s energy demand, such as solar protection and natural ventilation to avoid overheating, and taking advantage of natural lighting.
Renewable energies and zero energy consumption of the building
Renewable energies must be incorporated in the building design.
Renewable energies include solar thermal panels, vacuum tubes and photovoltaics to generate electricity and hot and cold water, condensing boilers, biomass or geothermal energy, among others.
To check and ensure the proper design of a sustainable and energy-efficient building, simulations must be carried out. These include energy, lighting, thermal, natural lighting, sunlight, wind and material surface temperatures.
All this commitment has resulted in many of our buildings achieving the most recognised environmental certificates, such as LEED and BREEAM. Estudio Lamela’s approach to project design and decision-making integrates these standards, among others, during all phases of the process, from initial planning to delivery. This has been the case, for example, for the Discovery Building, Madrid, 2017 (LEED-NC Platinum); the Astro Tower, Brussels, Belgium, 2017 (Bâtiment Passif, 2015 and 2014) VIDEO ASTRO TOWER, THE TALLEST ECOLOGICAL BUILDING IN EUROPE; Nestlé Headquarters, Warsaw, Poland, 2017 (BREEAM “Very Good”); Housing at Modesto Lafuente, 28, Madrid (BREEAM “Very Good”); Centro Canalejas, Madrid, 2019 (LEED-GOLD in process) VIDEO CENTRO CANALEJAS MADRID; Airbus Campus, Getafe, Madrid (BREEAM pre-approval “Very Good”) VIDEO AIRBUS HEADQUARTERS; and, under construction, the Méndez Álvaro Complex, Madrid (LEED Gold & A-Energy Certified).