Designed by Triptyque and dubbed Harmonia 57, the unique office building is set amidst a creative neighborhood on the west side of São Paulo. Two volumes make up the building, which is clad in a porous concrete skin with pockets for plants.
A complex water recycling network collects rainwater and grey water for use in irrigation and toilets, while a green roof helps minimize storm water runoff. The office building and artist atelier was completed in 2008 and it recently won the 2010 ‘Built Environment’ award from the Zumtobel Group.
The project is composed of two volumes joined by a metal footbridge above an internal plaza. The front volume is raised and rests on pillars, while the back volume is set on a solid foundation and includes a ‘bird like’ feature on the roof.
Large windows, operable shutters and terraces allow daylight to penetrate the interior spaces and lend the building a feeling of lightness. Porous concrete is used for the facade of the building, which is covered in plants set into niches and irrigated by a misting system.
Rainwater is collected from the green roof and grey water is recycled to provide water for toilet flushing and irrigation. The network of pipes is integrated into the architecture as an aesthetic feature as well as a functional one. For example, water pipes are used as handrails along staircases.
The living wall and green roof act as a buffering skin for the building and serve to insulate the interiors and reduce noise. Plants were chosen based upon both their aesthetics and growing capabilities, some were chosen to provide shade, while others crawl over the surface of the building providing a layer of humidity for other plants.