The Trinitat Vella Communithy Life Center in Barcelona is a multipurpose complex and the first completed building among several public facilities programmed to go up in the next few years in the Sant Andreu and Nou Barris districts, including housing endowments and lodgings for young and elderly people. A work of haz arquitectura, a Catalan practice led by Manuel Sánchez-Villanueva and Carol Beuter, it was executed through dry-construction methods. Inside are spaces for various social services and neighborhood associations, laid out around two covered courtyards that bring in light and air.
Working in combination with a loadbearing system of panels and ceilings of cross laminated radiata pine timber, a metal skeleton of girders and pillars braces and stabilizes the complex. The interior claddings of plywood are limited to the plinth areas, leaving the CLT frame visible. To counteract the wooden construction’s lack of thermal inertia, the ventilation system harnesses the inertia of the ground by burying the tubes of clean air (cool in summer, warm in winter) in the slope. Because it is underground, the air flowing through the tubes is warmed, to then be blown into the covered courtyards that function like huge conductors. The enclosures and doors of the corridors are expressly designed to let returning air pass and reach the central shafts, which lead it to the rooftop machinery room, where the photovoltaic plaques are installed.