Doctors Without Borders HQ in Barcelona
Batlle i Roig 

Doctors Without Borders HQ in Barcelona

Batlle i Roig 


The Catalan practice of Enric Batlle and Joan Roig transformed an old industrial construction in Barcelona’s 22@ district into a corporate headquarters for Doctors Without Borders. A 2003 renovation had converted the building into offices, modifying the circulation and service cores to comply with new codes but leaving natural ventilation and lighting below par.

The renovation for MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) includes a green courtyard where a staircase has been added, and a staggered section optimizes the entrance of light and air. Terraces that serve to expand the work zones. The ground floor is thought of as an extension of the public street, and bicycle parking is provided right at the entrance. Organized around a central court, four levels provide uninterrupted zone workspace, and two side strips – along the building’s party walls – contain vertical circulation and service cores, meeting rooms, offices, and rest areas. The new roof is fragmented into two parts: a place for meetings and socializing, abounding in vegetation and mobile awnings; and the building’s MEP services, harnessing existing elements like the metal pergola to incorporate photovoltaic panels and a system for collecting rainwater. To minimize energy consumption, the insulation of the roofs and facades has been reinforced, and joineries have been partly replaced.