Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Permeable Living Building in Quito, Ecuador by architecture x
May 16th, 2018 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: architecture x
We approached the design for this building from a position that questions the solutions currently being produced in Quito in response to the necessity of densifying the city with mid rise construction.
Can we as architects provide economically attractive solutions for the real state market while meeting the new standards set by the City Government for responsible and efficient construction? But most importantly how do we reconcile market interest that focus on the individual, hermetic apartment isolated as much as possible from the discomforts and complications of public urban living, with the urgent necessity for architecture to be the tool for place making in a disjointed, hard-edged city?
We propose a possible answer which relies on permeability at all levels.
Almost all contemporary buildings in Quito are impermeable, hermetic containers isolated and divorced from the city, purposely enclosing themselves and their dwellers from the street and neighbors.
For this building permeability means generating a sequence of steps, a series of filters, the elimination of hard borders or formal definitions, it means fragmenting and decomposing the typical rigid solution for mid rise commercial architecture.
From the outset we fragment the possible building mass, creating two main courtyards, one at the back to provide an inner facade and garden, one towards the contained cul-de-sac; we then fragment the building in section to achieve elevated double height terrace-courtyards overlapping each other.
Both actions break up the border between building and city.
The normally hermetic volume of a series of stacked apartments with private balconies, becomes a permeable open form that relates apartments to each other and to their surroundings. The city also permeates the building at different heights taking advantage of Quito´s topography, the building is totally open at street level to the quiet residential neighborhood, changing the relationship with its surroundings as it rises to eventually reach out to the great city scape limited by the Andes.
The two tree lined courtyards provide scale, shade, and quality public spaces at street and ground level. Trees give the same quality and character to the large terrace-courtyards which are designed for appropriate species to grow in overhanging planters located in double height arrangement for most of the apartments.
Trees are the permeable filter between city and building, public and private, apartment and landscape.
Permeability is also present as a solution to one of the main environmental problems in Quito which relates to rain water and drainage. The building retains a large percentage of rain water in natural ground left unaffected, and in soil replaced over the underground parking and the large planters and trees.
Most importantly the apartment dwellers maintain their condition of city and neighborhood dwellers, the building and the city permeate each other achieving intimate, comfortable urban scale and form..
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