The European public procurement journal has published the call for tender for the construction works of the future Joint Research Centre (JRC) site in Seville, the first New European Bauhaus-inspired Commission building. Companies interested must submit their applications by 15 February 2024 to participate in the selection procedure to build the new JRC site that is to become a reference in sustainability and innovation. The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) architecture firm, winner of the UIA-endorsed international architecture competition for the project, has already completed the basic design. It is now working on the construction design, which is expected to be finalised in the spring of 2024.
A dome of photovoltaic pergolas
Drawing inspiration from Seville traditional architectures, the winning design proposes to cover the entire area with a “solar dome” made up of photovoltaic pergolas providing shade to the plaza, the gardens and the building itself. The light, square pergolas are supported by a forest of slender columns. The roofscape cascades down from the centre of the site to a human scale height at its periphery creating a variety of open-air spaces, with a square open to the public underneath it.
The design prioritises the use of locally sourced materials such as limestone, wood or ceramics. It aims at fully offsetting emissions and their carbon footprint, including those caused by its construction, mainly through photovoltaic electricity generation that will far exceed its own operational needs, making it the first net zero building of this size of the European institutions.
The ground floor will host a conference centre and social space while offices and research units shall occupy the upper floors. The proposed configuration of the interior is designed to be fully flexible and adaptable to future needs and to promote collaboration, co-creation and hybrid work.
The procurement procedure
The call for tenders scope includes the construction of the building and of a solar power plant on top of it, as well as maintenance services for the two first years. At the end of the first phase, which will run until April 2024, six companies will be selected based on capacity, experience and technical competence criteria. These companies will then be provided with the construction design and invited to submit a financial offer for the construction. The best offer will be selected in summer 2024. The signature of the contract is subject to the formalisation of the concession on the plot of land and the approval of the project by the budgetary authority of the European Union, composed of the European Parliament and the Council, which will give the final green light to starting the works.
The Joint Research Centre in Seville
The future building will become the permanent site of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Seville, hosting an international staff of some 400 researchers. With five other sites in Europe, the JRC is the scientific service of the European Commission: a Directorate-General providing independent support, information and data for the design and implementation of European policies.