Orona IDeO – innovation city is the flagship design of the new extension of the Technology Park of San Sebastian (Hernani, Basque Country, Spain). The purpose of this project is to house the company´s Innovation Ecosystem, which stands out as it brings together different synergetic activities –business, technology canters and university-. The project is an answer to the need of common networking space of an international company, creating a place that is both a flagship and a common home for its more than 4,500 employees and a hub for researchers and students on elevation, urban mobility, energy and eco-technology branches.
Location: Technology Park of the Basque Country, 20120 Hernani (Gipuzkoa), Basque Country, Spain
Latitude: 43.275987
Longitude: -1.986938
Total built surface area 49,950m2
Building period: 2012-2016
Architects: Xabier Barrutieta, Eneko Gokoetxea, Javier de la Fuente, Santi Perez
Company: BARRU arkitektura SLP
Contact email: xbb@xabierbarrutieta.com
Web Address: www.xabierbarrutieta.com
Address: c/Amezketarrak 10, 20011 San Sebastian, Spain
The project is based on the concept of the Urban Cell, which is a scale between architecture and urbanism that embraces a mixed-use project composed by four buildings. The approach of the project on this scale comprehensively tackle a number of key design issues related to urban space, green space, accessibility, orientation of buildings, a mix of uses and energy efficiency, among others. The design approach of all four buildings is environmentally sensitive and bioclimatic, and the strategy was to specialise each buildings situation seizing its assets to work synergistically to the whole.

Thus, this design was conceived and developed taking into account a series of linked buildings and urban spaces that synergistically create Orona IDeO:
The Zero building is the flagship building of Orona Ideo and houses the corporate headquarters of the company and its form is inspired by the circle, a constant shape in the company’s brand image. The design of the building seeks to evoque elegance, dinamism and elevation through an abstract formal gesture: a hollow cylinder of 90m in diameter, 16m in height and a 15º incline. It rises from the ground to create a 1.500m2 overhang at the entrance from the city and sinks on the opposite side, allowing passage through and generating a roof-façade for capturing solar energy.

The Zero building is mainly devoted to office spaces, which have large internal energy loads due to its occupants and to the density of the electronic equipment which dissipates heat and, at the same time, requires diffused light to avoid glare. The ground plan places the workplace near the outer façade which is mainly north facing, whereas the south-facing ring-shaped gallery distributes the flow of people and overlooks the building’s central void.
The curved façade is made up of a skin composed of more than 2,000 triangular pixels which change by means of a parametric design from: opaque, translucent and transparent, depending on their orientation, the incident to solar radiation, the access to external views and the privacy of the rooms. More than 1,000 polycrystalline photovoltaic modules are integrated on the inclined rooftop of the Orona Zero building that will have an annual electricity output similar to the electricity consumption of 100 average flats. The interior of the building recreates different working environments from desks and closed meeting rooms to a series of lounge spaces suitable for informal meetings and personal work. These designs have the ability to imprint a special character to the working spaces and also seek to evolve the brand culture of the company among the employees.

The Foundation building is a “collage” building of around 10,500m2. The two lower floors are for common and shared facilities such as the canteen, auditorium, library and meeting spaces. Its façade onto the plaza acts as a backdrop for the public space and aims at being permeable and polyvalent.  The two upper floors are for use as teaching facilities at graduate and post-graduate level in energy-related subjects like two new Eco-engineering bachelor degrees.
The A3 research building facilities encompass two prismatic volumes that make up one building holding office space and laboratories aimed at research on advanced aplications on electrical storage systems.
The laboratory building has a glowing U-glass façade, whereas the office building of the researchers has a more light-hearted, brightly-colored façade that helps provide diversity to the architectural ensemble.

The Gallery pavilion is an space for visitors and its purpose is to host open events and transmit the Orona IDeO philosophy whereas it is the access point for visitors to the energy facilities for producing energy from renewable sources: biomass, solar thermal, geothermal and photovoltaic.
The Plaza is an ensemble of intertwined urban spaces that describe a series of pedestrian areas welcoming researchers, workers and students who share spaces aimed at encouraging relationships and the exchange of ideas. The design of this urban space seeks to afford all of Orona IDeO’s building a recognizable character on the pavement and landscape through a striped design that raises the idea of the geological strata and the rich landscape of its setting.
The whole project has achieved Leed Gold and Breeam Excelent certifications and has been selected by the World Green Building Council as benchmark for Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices.  

Nowadays the whole project is being monitored and research is being done together with the University of the Basque Country, with the aim to keep learning from the project as a Living Lab. Orona Ideo has being pointed out as a remarkable benchmark for Nearly Zero Energy Buildings by specialist in the field, specially because of its vision of a Zero Energy District with no fossil fuel consumption and a Zero Carbon Footprint.

What we do
Scales of Action
Our work philosophy rests on the premise that best design comes from a completely integrated approach from the project conception to completion. We make ourselves stand out offering multidisciplinary tailored solutions that are not common to traditional architecture firms.
We focus on three different fields that mainly correspond to three scales of action. Each of these scales has quite different positions according to clients and services we offer.

  1. On the bigger scale Urban Design and Masterplanningprojects usually have to find a dialogue with existing urban reality and need to apply strategic thinking methodologies and complex management tools. We act as an urban think-tankfor clients that are usually public and we offer them a research method­ology with an out-of-the-box approach, proposing proactive ideas on the situations that we identify to have an outstanding potential.
  2. On the building scale we mainly focus on NZEB buildings and green architecturesolutions. Our clients usually demand fresh and meaningful working environments for their innova­tive companies. We work hand in hand from the beginning, destilating their needs to choose the right plot, and we study their brand culture and DNA. The aim is to design a tailored project that sums a new asset for the business strategy and brand culture of these companies.
  3. Finally, the smallest scale corresponds singular designs, workplace consultancy, industrial design, furniture and design of temporary spaces. We love working with artists, sculptors and engineersthat give us new insights of the contemporary world and we create together spaces with a soul. At this scale we have highest freedom to research on new materials, technologies and be open to peripheral disci­plines that enrich our practice.

Now is the time to enrich the rational efficiency of the buildings with the more human quality aspects of sustainability that are the most difficult to measure. The connection to the nature, the views, the natural lighting, acoustics, healthy materials and wellbeing in general are going to be some of the future big issues to create a healthier architecture. These issues will be developed in an environment dominated by technology and big data, where buildings and cities still have a very long way to go. Our interaction with buildings will be much more intense and architecture can benefit from it. To achieve this, we will have to learn to manage integrated projects with fields that now seem far from architecture, but we believe that this can be a thriving future for our profession.
Xabier Barrutieta
Founder & CEO
Xabier Barrutieta (1978) is an Architect graduated with honors that trained in Spain, Germany and Switzerland. He leads is own architects office and teaches in the fields of Project Design and Sustainability and has also been part of several research projects related with sustainable construction and urban design. He worked for the Basque Regional Spatial Planning Department and the Basque Architects Chamber in spatial planning and urban regeneration projects.
He established his own practice in 2003 and has collaborated with several international firms in the fields of urban and landscape design, architecture and ecotechnologies; teaming up with Arup and Foster+Partners among others. His work was selected for the Very Young Spanish Architects exhibit and has been awarded several prizes such as the prestigious Europan 10 Prize for European Young Architects.
The main fields of the office are NZEB & green building design, integrated sustainability solutions and urban transformation projects where applied innovation and careful design are the key to create forward thinking spaces.
He currently is an Associate Professor at the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU in the fields of Sustainable and Industrialized Construction and Innovation Management.