Renovation and extension of ArcelorMittal's R&D Centre in Avilés

ArcelorMittal and its R&D and Construction divisions recently refurbished and extended the multinational steelmaker’s Technology Development Centre in Avilés (Asturias). Solely through its external appearance, the building communicates the primary, metal-oriented purpose of its activity.  It has become an exemplar of how steel construction is able to give spaces new life, gaining in terms of both comfort and quality.

Detailed information

Architectural concept: Inside-Out

The origin of the project was the need expressed by ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D Centre at Avilés, located in this building, to have more workspace as it is managing an increasing number of projects and due to the incorporation of additional personnel in recent years.

The inside-out sushi roll, also known as Uramaki, has the peculiarity that the rice is on the outside and the nori (seaweed) is on the inside, surrounding the filling. This is why it is referred to as an inside-out roll. In this project, the vision was to play with these concepts with reference to the inside and outside of the building, the city, and the materials. The endeavour was both to connect ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D Centre to the city of Avilés and, simultaneously, to display the steel - a material that is produced in the plant (in the city) and that was not previously apparent in the refurbished centre.

Entirely made of steel

Steel both enters and exits the building cladding facades, stairs, and the roof in a continuous fashion. This is in reference to the rolling-mills in which it is produced, as well as to the world’s leading steel producer and to the city of Avilés, which is always a focal point with its priceless industrial heritage.

The building in which ArcelorMittal develops new and more efficient ways to produce this material communicates through its external appearance the primary, metal-oriented purpose of its internal activity.  It has become an exemplar of how steel construction is able to give spaces new life, gaining in terms of both comfort and quality.  Several basic criteria were established for the refurbishment: prioritise the safety of the building’s users, keep costs low, offer a maximum of services, and use ArcelorMittal’s own products.  The solution has connected the R&D Centre with the city of Avilés and also showcases steel as a construction material for facades and roofs. All of this has provided the complex with clear continuity.

Sustainable steel

The metal parts can be 100% reused and 70% of them came from recycled steel.

The project has two fundamental lines of action: firstly, the restoration of spaces, facades, and functionality in the existing building; and secondly, the construction of two new buildings.  Altogether, the renovations provide 200 square metres of new workrooms for researchers and 1000 square metres of new laboratories to be used for the centre’s main avenues of research: intelligent manufacturing, business, supply chain, energy, environment, and recycling.

These two lines of action are embodied in:

- Cladding the Avilés Technology Development Centre building with perforated steel plate.
The front facade, where brick and concrete dominated, has acquired a new metal fascia. ArcelorMittal’s corporate colours, dark grey and orange, now dominate.  This will required 2200 square metres of ArcelorMittal Construction's Frequence 14.18 micro-perforated lacquered sheet steel in Anthracite 6798 mounted on battens comprised of 100x100x3 square-section tubes.

Internally, the lobby was renovated to vertically connect the building’s three floors. Additionally, an existing meeting room was refurbished and improvements were made in other rooms. In total, the modified internal area of the building amounts to 1224 square metres, in which a structure of rolled sections was employed - primarily HEA sections in sizes 120, 200, 220, and 360 in grade S275, Hacierba 1.500.90 SR liner trays, and ArcelorMittal Construction's Chantilly 5.40 900 B/HB sheet painted in Orange 3026.

- Construction of two low-rise buildings alongside the Technology Development Centre:
Named Open Office and Finger Lab, they were clad with 650 square metres of Chantilly 5.40 900 B/HB steel sheet painted in Anthracite 6798.

Open Office comprises an area of 125 square metres and contains two meeting rooms, toilets, and a rest area.  Its structure consists of rolled sections, primarily IPE220 and HEA 120 in grade S275. Hacierba 1.500.90 SR liner trays were also used.

Finger Lab, with 112 square metres, has an energy, environment, and process simulation laboratory, as well as a meeting room and toilets.  Its structure consists of square tubes of different sections, and insulated panels were also used in its construction.

Finally, the car park was refurbished increasing the number of spaces, and the green areas were rehabilitated, creating a new way of parking, which is more dynamic and consistent with the operation of the centre.

Steel in figures

Steel products used in the construction of ArcelorMittal’s Asturias R&D Centre:

• 1270 m² of flat sheet for trim
• 328 m² of Hacierba SR 1.500.90 liner tray
• 232 m² of sandwich paneling
• 3150 m² of Frequence 14.18 micro-perforated sheet
• 1022 m² of Chantilly 5.40 900 B/HB sheet
• 250 tonnes of structural steelwork in grade S275

Text: Sergio Baragaño

Project information

  • Avilés - Asturias
  • Spain
  • Architect:
  • Engineering firm:
    DeAcerO (structure)
  • Client:
  • Photographer:
    ©Mariela Apollonio