The Plaza Mayor building at the Autonomous University of Madrid‘s Cantoblanco Campus serves as a focal point for campus life. This construction project was offered to Ferrovial Agroman in October 2009.
The contract was signed and construction began the following month, November 2009. The first challenge was how to address such a complex project. The structure involved extremely large cantilevers and concrete slabs more than one metre thick. Recently enacted legislation governing building installations enabled us to reopen the design and adapt the structure to the new regulations, particularly in connection with heating and air-conditioning. Our Structural Engineering and Installations departments worked together with the original architects to redesign the project in record time.
We worked with our colleagues at Tecpresa to execute a lighter concrete structure based on post-tensioned slabs, a common practice in civil engineering but not so frequent in building, using more than 27,000 kg of active steel cable.
Another challenge was the façade, made from aluminium, glass and polycarbonate. Apart from the difficulties posed by the façade, one of the most complicated aspects was meeting the aesthetic requirements set out by the chief architect with respect to “his building”. As a result, we had to produce more than 20 new aluminium extrusion moulds exclusively for the façade.
Due to the architectural characteristics of the building, in which gardens and walkways were located on the roofs, we had to integrate the building’s exterior finishes into our planning from the very outset, which was the source of many headaches due to interference with other activities.
There were certain difficulties, things that were harder to understand from an engineering standpoint but were necessary for the aesthetics. Every item, whether large or small, important or not, required countless samples, consultations, workshop drawings, approvals…
The entire Ferrovial-Agroman team put in a sterling performance on this project. In particular, I would like to thank the Engineering and Design Department and everyone who contributed in any way to the success of this project.