Research centers (I): Masterplan for the new CSIC Marine Research Institute
The accumulated experience of Fundación RIA in establishing links between productive sectors, the scientific community and administrations, as well as in designing strategies for sustainable development and urban regeneration, allows it to advise and coordinate the process, encouraging the participation of all the agents involved and developing a public communication effort for the project.
In 2012, the Xunta de Galicia approved the Sectorial Plan for the former School of Transmissions and Electricity of the Navy (ETEA). With this plan, the former military land changes its use in order to promote the establishment of a marine research campus capable of hosting various institutions in the field.
After several years without effective progress, the Institute of Marine Research (IIM), one of the centers of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), under the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, will be the institution that will take the first step to establish itself in one of the plots of the ETEA.
The IIM is one of the reference centers in Spain and Europe in marine research and, in particular, in food science and technology, an area that establishes direct links with the fishing economies that have such a strong presence in the city of Vigo and Galicia. The space needs of the IIM, the projection of future growth and the potential to generate synergies with other institutions, drive the CSIC and the Ministry to fund this project, which aims to launch a process open to other institutions present in the city of Vigo, such as the Faculty of Marine Sciences of the UVigo, the CETMAR, the IEO or the European Fisheries Agency. For these reasons this project, of special relevance for the IIM, the CSIC, the city of Vigo and Galicia in general, wants to develop in an exemplary way and taking advantage of all the opportunities that arise.
To contribute to this process, Fundación RIA proposes the development of the new headquarters, thanks to its accumulated experience, establishing links between productive sectors, the scientific community and administrations, as well as designing strategies for sustainable development and urban regeneration, will allow it to advise and coordinate the process, encouraging the participation of all the agents involved and developing public communication about the project.
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Team and collaborators
Current status and needs
The IIM saw in the move to Rios, an opportunity to overcome the limitations of space and use it currently faces. For this reason, from its direction a wide study of great value of the current conditions in Bouzas is promoted, where the needs of each of the members of his team are collected and foreseeing spaces to absorb the growth that is expected in the future.
The IIM program is analyzed in detail, studying its facilities and current uses. In order to know the main difficulties encountered by IIM workers during the development of their activities, the Fundación RIA team made three visits to the center's facilities, meeting with representatives of research groups and services. The objective of this consultation and verification process is to review the figures of staff and surface areas provided by the IIM, obtained from a previous consultation process in which only the maximum buildability factor of the new headquarters was taken into account, but not the available budget. In view of this fact, Fundación RIA is trying to optimize the m2/worker ratio and the €/m2 ratio so that the quality and adequacy of the facilities is maximized from the beginning of the project, with the execution of the first phase.
After its inauguration in 1973 as the Instituto de Investigaciones Pesqueras, the current IIM headquarters was almost empty and could comfortably accommodate the 30 people working in the laboratory at that time. In the long run, it would prove to be the right choice of space, since it allowed the comfortable location of three times the number of staff. Although the facilities designed by the architect Desiderio Pernas were able to comfortably accommodate a staff of 90 people, today the IIM has more than 200 workers. In order to accommodate all this research activity, a small annex building connected to the main building was built and, in addition, both were filled by compartmentalizing existing spaces. Thus, space limitations, especially in the laboratories, are the main obstacle to the development of the IIM, as almost all the groups and services surveyed stated.
The study focuses on characterizing the different types of spaces and their functional relationships. In this way, the CSIC will find an objective and contrasted information base with the center's staff that will contribute to define the technical specifications of the eventual architectural competition and will allow the evaluation of the proposals submitted.
Within the functional relationships between users and the institute's spaces, there are two singular large facilities that articulate, to a large extent, the dynamics of the IIM: the pilot plant and the aquariums. This relationship of dependence must be taken into consideration when distributing the research groups in the new facilities to ensure greater accessibility and comfort for technicians and researchers, reducing the distances between these facilities and the workplaces of the people involved.
The current building of the Marine Research Institute (IIM) in the Bouzas neighborhood is insufficient to house the Institute's activities.
Physical context and regulatory framework of the new location
Analysis of the ETEA and its surroundings, identifying its environmental and heritage values, in order to define planning criteria; and an analysis of the local community, the Ríos neighborhood, taking into account its urban and social structure and listening to its demands and concerns. This analysis of the context is completed with a study of the regulatory framework (PXOM, Sectorial Plan and Sectorial Project) that defines the conditions of occupation of the plot.
The new location of the IIM will be the former Rios Naval Base, located in the working-class neighborhood of Teis. Created in 1916, it became the Navy School of Transmissions and Electricity (ETEA) in the 1950s. The area covers 100,000m² and houses 30 buildings totaling 30,000m² constructed, in addition to wharfs and former powder magazines.
In 2012, the Xunta de Galicia approved the Sectorial Plan that reclassifies the site to allow the implementation of scientific and technological uses, with the intention of establishing a marine research campus in Vigo.
The relocation of the IIM to this location allows the institute to grow to accommodate 350 workers (compared to the current 200) and to interact with other institutions such as the University of Vigo and other research centers. In addition, the Marine Technological Unit of CSIC (UTM-CSIC http://www.utm.csic.es), the entity in charge of the logistics and technological management of the four oceanographic research vessels of CSIC, and the Spanish Atlantic Base, will be located in the same area.
Therefore, the will of the IIM is that the new location becomes a pole of international reference in marine research, encouraging technology transfer to the sectors involved and promoting the dissemination of marine sciences in society, at local, regional, national and international level.
Aerial view of the ETEA in Teis, 1970.
Distribution of uses and local integration strategies
Following the completion of the study, Fundación RIA prepares an indicative proposal for the arrangement of volumes and uses in the PS-2 plot that meets the needs raised by the IIM. This proposal, agreed with the IIM management, is prior to the preparation of the definitive Sector Project. It is probable that, in the process of elaboration of the Sector Project, criteria have been established that prevent the adoption of this arrangement of volumes and uses, such as, for example: another layout of the interior roads of the plot, the obligation to maintain some facades of the pre-existing buildings, or setbacks that save the easement of protection of the maritime-terrestrial public domain. It is up to the participants in the architectural competition to develop a proposal that meets the needs of the IIM while complying with the requirements established in the final Sector Project.
Criteria for distribution among planned uses
Increase the surface area of offices and laboratories: As shown in the surveys carried out to the different groups and services visited and as reflected in the photographs collected, it is essential to increase the surface area of offices and laboratories to improve the functioning of the IIM. Taking as a reference the areas available for these uses in the current headquarters in Bouzas, the surface dedicated to offices has been increased by 48% and the surface dedicated to laboratories by 46%. Likewise, the storage area has been increased by 122% in order to free the work spaces and passageways from machines and cabinets. This measure, together with the adoption of a rational and compact distribution scheme, would allow the research center built in the first phase of PS-2 to substantially improve the current conditions in Bouzas.
Complete the construction of the singular facilities such as the pilot plant, the aquariums, the wet room and the DPC in the first phase: The heavy load of facilities in these spaces makes it difficult to expand or relocate them later, and it is advisable to undertake their construction completely in the first phase.
Types of spaces
There are four categories of uses that can be arranged together or separately, as long as there is good communication and access between the packages. These categories or program packages are: principal use, singular equipment use, shared uses and storage.
A requirement of 13,650m2 of usable area (warehouses not included for a horizon of 4 to 5 years, in which 270 people are expected to be working at IIM. This number has been established based on the historical maximum number of workers at the IIM that took place in 2012. However, the growth projection foresees that the new research center could accommodate, in 10 to 15 years, a maximum of 340 people, for which an additional 1,600 m2 would be necessary.
In addition, it is estimated that the non-useful area of the research center amounts to 20% of the total area. Non-useful spaces are considered to be structural (pillars, facades, interior partitions, elevator shafts, skylights) or communication spaces (corridors and stairways).
However, given the current budgetary situation, it is necessary that the building project contemplates a sequential execution, allowing to maintain the quality of the building in all its phases in accordance with what is required for a research center of the highest technology. This consideration implies addressing a first phase that limits the surface to be built to 9,000m2, which allows maintaining an adequate €/m2 ratio with the available budget.
In any case, it is necessary that both the Sectorial Project and the Architecture Project contemplate the rest of the growth phases, which would fill the whole of the Sectorial Project 2 (including both the IIM and the UTM) reaching the maximum buildable area of the plot of 22,000m2 (reaching 26,000m2 built, approximately, by not computing certain program if it is located below ground level).
It is considered essential that the first phase already executed integrates the special spaces that require more installation requirements (aquariums, pilot plant, special rooms, etc.), around which the rest of the uses (offices, laboratories, warehouses, etc.) will be configured. This definitive layout of the special spaces in the first phase will allow the IIM to grow and undertake subsequent phases without affecting the core of the research.
In the growth phases, once the space needs of the IIM for the three groups of uses (main use, singular equipment use and shared uses) have been met, it is proposed to fill the buildable area with the incorporation of more flexible spaces, diaphanous and low-tech spaces that could be initially occupied by a hotbed of companies, startups, spin-offs or consolidated companies with an agreement with the IIM, as a hub.)
Relationships between uses and users of the research center.
Asking a good question leads to good answers
The architectural competition for the new IIM headquarters called by the CSIC is supported by the work of the Fundación RIA, which conducted a thorough analysis of functional needs and urban conditions of the area, with a high participation of research groups, social agents and related institutions. The Fundación RIA also contributes to the dissemination of this competition, through the preparation of an informative document aimed at potential participants, with the aim of describing its historical, territorial and research context, and summarizing information of interest: fees, prizes, schedule or requirements for participation.