Repsol Campus Madrid: giant steel frames define industrial image and provide solar protection

The new headquarters of the energy company Repsol is a modern complex in the city centre of the Spanish capital. Conceived like a university campus, it consists of 4 buildings arranged around a central garden. The giant steel frames embracing the buildings make the complex stand out in its urban surroundings. ArcelorMittal supplied heavy plate for the frames and composite flooring.

Detailed information

123.000 sqm office and common spaces, open, flexible and suffused with light: the new headquarters of Repsol offer 4000 employees a comfortable, more balanced working environment where collaboration and exchange of ideas are central.

Inspired by the team work atmosphere of a univeristy campus, Madrid based architect Rafael de la Hoz and his team designed a complex where the horizontal lines win over the the vertica ones: the buildings have only 5 floors. De la Hoz picked up the concept of the central yard as a meeting point, the social importance of which can be followed throughout history from the ancient roman family patio over the medieval cloister to modern campus complexes.

It was in the US, where - after WW2 - the concept of the university campus was first applied to the design of company headquarters. The aim was the same – to create a space for social gathering and find synergies between the different departments and businesses. Not to forget that buildings with lower height create a less hierarchical structure than skyscrapers.

Highrise buildings are usually the only solutions in city centres due to the limited space. The fact that Repsol owned this enormous plot in the southern part of Madrid centre made it a lot easier to implement the spacious campus concept. The garden areas invite to take a walk, the buildings are connected with footbridges.

Another important criteria was the “Design for all” approach, making the buildings a 100% accessible complex and integrate people with any kind of disability in order to create equal possibilities for everyone.

Industrial image

Characteristic for this complex are the 105 giant steel frames that embrace the buildings. These arches or “ribs” define the industrial image of the energy company. Each of them is 24 m high and weighs 50 tonnes.

As part of the structure they contribute to the building's physics: they allow the open and flexible interiors and at the same time are the frame for 45.000 sqm of glazed façade. The arches are directly supported by the building's basement, the ground floor that houses common spaces like the auditorium, health care installations and the convention centre.

But the arches not only have a structural and image function – they also present a solution to a problem very common in Spain due to the climate: they let in the light, but not the heat.
The great “ribs” protect the glazed façade from direct sunlight, they provide shadow without blocking the light.

ArcelorMittal provided heavy plate for the arches and composite flooring, in total 20.000 sqm steel sheets of the Cofraplus offer were supplied.

Interiors and garden

The interior design, made by Estudio Rosselini, joins in the quest for transparency and openness. Therefore, the open office spaces are situated close to the façade, the furniture does not obstruct the views. Individual offices and meeting rooms are located in the centre of each floor. Apart from the central yard, there are many green terraces.

The central garden, designed by landscaping artist Till Latzman, is crucial in the campus concept and occupies a third of the total surface. A variety of local plants were used, among them pine trees and thyme – all of them used to the dry climate in Madrid. A well crosses the green area, ending in a murmuring cascade close to the cafeteria.


The Campus is designed to be sustainable, saving annualy 22 tonnes of CO2. 100% of the energy comes from renewable sources thanks to 1.700 sqm of photovoltaic panels. Parking for bicylces and electric cars with charging stations are available, the rainwater is stored and used for watering the 20.000 sqm garden area. It aims for the LEED Gold certification, energy efficiency is being evaluated in the next months and years.

It is a company campus that, instead of standing out, wants to integrate into its urban surroundings. The area around Mendez Álvaro Street, a former industrial area in Madrid, is in the process of  restructuring, new office but also residential buildings are underway. Therefore, it was important not to take away the light in the neighbourhood, which could be achieved thanks to the  limited building height.

Project Information

  • Madrid
  • Spain
  • Architect:
    Rafael de la Hoz
  • 2007 - 2013
  • Client:
    Repsol YPF
  • Photographer: