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ArcelorMittal steel carries roof of Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos
This modern architectural complex in the historical Spanish town of Burgos seeks to reproduce the Atapuerca mountains, an important archaeological site in the region. ArcelorMittal supplied the characteristic red steel structure that marks the museum's lateral façades and concrete reinforcing steel bars and meshes for the building's structure.
The Human Evolution complex consists of three separate buildings conceived as glazed volumes and separated by narrow streets. The museum constitutes the central and defining element, flanked by the National Center of Human Investigation and the Congress Center and Evolution Forum.
The museum displays findings of the archaeological site in the Atapuerca mountains, located east of Burgos. In some of the mountains' caves, fossils and stone tools of Western Europe's earliest known hominids were found that probably date back 1.2 million years. Because of the importance of its findings, Atapuerca was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
The project was developed by Spanish architect and painter Juan Navarro Baldeweg and expresses historical Burgos' bid to modernity. According to the architectural concept, the Human Evolution Complex interprets evolution as something intimately connected to the territory, the soil, the geological strata and nature in general, which is the context for life and contains information and knowledge that literally has to be excavated.
The architectural project seeks to reproduce the Atapuerca mountains within the city of Burgos. Therefore, the complex is set on an elevated platform 5m above street level, the access to the museum is realized via a ramp. The elevation is planted with native vegetation from the mountains and descends in terraces to the Arlanzon river. On top, at the main entrance to the museum, a spectacular viewpoint over the historic city center was created.
On entering the building, the impression of continuity marks the visitor's experience. The glazed façades allow a visual connection with the outside and the neighbouring buildings. The complex is flooded with natural light and evokes transparency and openness towards the community.
Four inclined modules with plants contribute to the idea of the mountains in the city and the longitudinal sections that form the corridors emulate the cuttings realized when building the mining railroad at the end of the 19th century which led to the discovery of the caves that now contribute to the reconstruction the past.
The museum, oriented towards north-south, is a 30 m high, 60 wide and 90m long prism. The entrance area is a wide and open space, dominated by light, balance and pure lines.
The total surface of 15.000 m2 is distributed on 4 levels of the permanent exhibition, the temporary exhibition, the workshops, the function room and the sanitary installations.
The façades are made up by double glazing and the roof allows natural light from above, contributing to the building's luminosity and energy efficiency. The characteristic red steel structure supports the roof on the east and west façades. ArcelorMittal supplied the steel sections for this structure, that not only has a load bearing but also symbolic function.
All three buildings of the Evolution complex are made of a steel concrete composite structure, for which ArcelorMittal also supplied the concrete reinforcing steel bars and meshes.
- 2006 - 2010
Navarro Baldeweg Asociados
Junta de Castilla y León
Ortiz Construcciones y Proyectos (main contractor)
Museum of Human Evolution, Burgos