Industrial sheds in the port of Avilés: A perfect example of a totally disassemblable and recyclable steel structure

The ArcelorMittal warehouse in the Port of Avilés, Spain, a bolted steel structure, is one hundred percent disassemblable and recyclable. The architect drew inspiration for its design from the recyclability of the materials in order to create a work that is both ephemeral and dynamic in its shape, location, and use.

Detailed information

Convenient location

The ArcelorMittal industrial sheds are situated in an exceptional location: on the Ria of Avilés at the San Agustin dock facing the city. It is an industrial landscape among cranes and with the ArcelorMittal factory as a backdrop.

With the rapid development this Asturian city is undergoing, the new plan for the Ria (Isla de la Innovación - Island of Innovation) and the presence of a building by Pritzker prizewinner Oscar Niemeyer enticed us to put forward an alternative for an existing project - a conventional industrial building with a gabled roof and a 120 m facade facing the city. This was our starting point.

Main concept

We immediately brought up the concept of industrial sheds - those simple, old port buildings, which will be used for the warehousing of materials produced at the ArcelorMittal factory, transported to the new building by rail or trucks to be loaded on ships, and then sent to different parts of the world.

Thus, the idea of containers arose, an image of portside life engraved on the retinas of the people. The facades and roof are made up of containers, dividing up the large building into color pixels intended to blend the large-scale work into its surroundings, providing the area with movement, colour, and cleverly-used nighttime illumination.

Selection of the range of colours did not only stem from the immediate association with the corporate image of both companies, but was also intended to relate to the industrial areas and an attempt to use colours that have been used historically in the construction of industrial buildings, employing and combining them in a different way.

On a dark metal base, built as if for the hull of a ship, rises the tower, a subtle beacon emerging from the landscape addressing the cranes and stacks and serving to break up, once again, the continuity of the facade.  This element houses the company logotypes that the building bears, and serves as a boundary for the roof, which becomes the building's fifth facade and is an aerial reference point for planes landing or taking off from the nearly Asturias airport.

Entirely of steel

The sheds are built entirely of steel including the frame, the exterior building skins, facades, and roof.  Thus, it meets the requirements of the plan, the history of the place itself, and the users of the building, ArcelorMittal (the world's leading producer of steel) and AGP (Actividades Generales Portuarias), a company dedicated to transport management in the Port of Avilés.

Logical and rational use of materials and manner of construction were addressed in the construction of the industrial sheds.  All of their components were produced at the nearby ArcelorMittal factories, and, as it is a bolted-steel structure, are one hundred percent disassemblable and recyclable. They are also composed of a high percentage of recycled material, more than seventy percent, produced using an electric furnace system.

- 200 tonnes of structural beams (main structure:  50 tn HEA 240, HEA 280, IPE 200, and IPE 240 on S275 JR; substructure: 150 tn cold-formed profiles)
- 8000 m2 sheet PL 40/250  and 0.80 mm thick galvanised steel and polyurethane polyamide Granite® coating
- 650 m2 of 1150 mm panel, 35 mm thick.

It is established as a transitory work that, according to the development of the city, can be disassembled and moved to another location or even change its purpose over time (concerts, cultural activities, recreation, exhibitions, etc.).  An evolutionary building - adapting itself to the needs of the area and the city.  A dynamic building that speaks to its surroundings, to the ships, to the sea...

Text:  b_ architects

Project information

  • Avilés
  • Spain
  • Architect:
    Sergio Baragaño b_architects
  • 2007-2009
  • Client:
    ArcelorMittal & AGP
  • Engineering Firm:
    Estudios y Proyectos
  • Contractor:
    Conrado Antuña S.L., ArcelorMittal Construcción
  • Photographer:
    Sergio Baragaño, Ángel Sanchís Cienfuegos