A metropolis becomes green
The office building “Harmonia 57” in São Paulo is a hybrid of building, sculpture and machine, which, with its informal outwardly appearance, blends in perfectly with the urban chaos of the city inhabited by 11 million people. For the innovative building concept, the French-Brazilian architecture firm Triptyque received the main prize in this year’s Zumtobel Group Award.
“With traditional buildings, as soon as the building is completed the signs of wear begin to appear immediately. They never reach their perfect state again. However, we wanted to create a building that continues to develop and gain in quality after its completion,” say the four partners of the architect firm Triptyque about their draft for the office building Harmonia 57 in the western part of São Paulo.
The central construction focus of this new building is its green concrete façade that is watered through a sprinkler system installed on the outside of the building. The assignment for the architects was to develop a highly flexible building of artists’ studios. Spontaneously changeable room configurations and usage possibilities was the demand. A critically influential factor on the draft was also the local tropical climate, which has high temperatures as well as extreme rainfall, especially in the winter.
Parts of the structure for Harmonia 57 are created out of two separate building blocks that are connected through a metal pedestrian bridge with a small open area between them. The front building block stands on pilotis, the rear block set on the ground, boasting a birdhouse-style penthouse at the top. Large windows, blinds and terraces lend a feeling of airiness.
Various façades of the building are decorated with plants that are watered via sprinklers. The plants are rooted in porous holes in the concrete façade, which is designed to soak up water and pass it on to the plants. The greenery on the outside provides an extra layer of protection against both heat and noise for the inside of the building.
Harmonia 57 has a technically simple, but fully integrated system to recycle rainwater, made up of pipes, collectors and tanks, which cover the building, resembling handrails. The green roof also contributes towards air cleaning and to a pleasant interior climate, reducing energy consumption from air conditioning.