Located in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, this residential building features boldly designed architecture that stands out in the local landscape. The building has 14 lofts and 24 studios and is spread over nine floors and is located on a narrow site with a width of 12.7 meters. The challenge of its volumetric mathematics, to respect distances, was one of the factors that resulted in a unique identity.
The interdependence between the building’s structure and the architectural project enabled great creative freedom, culminating in the most prominent element: a second skin that “wears the building like a garment”, giving it unique characteristics. The material used was aluminum, painted in an earthy reddish sepia tone that alludes to the abundance of raw ore in Minas Gerais.
In order to obtain lightness and transparency, the aluminium sheets received perforations in different sizes, and were made in an asymmetrical, yet harmonic way. That process makes it possible to see through them from the inside out, where city views are exposed through the skin. However, from the outside, it isn’t possible to see the interiors, guaranteeing privacy to the residents. This element also made it possible to explore a rich range of effects, from hiding smaller, functional windows, to tearing the skin to expose the large spans. Conceived as generous openings, these windows allow the city to become an extension of the house, with abundant light and ventilation. The concrete frames of the openings contrast with the predominant oxidized color.
Sustainability guided a large part of the project’s choices. The skin covering the building also provides thermal comfort to the units. Away from the masonry, it provides shading of the fences and good ventilation. Due to the reduced dimensions of the land, and minimal rooftop space for installing equipment or photovoltaic panels, it was necessary to find a solution that would avoid the entry of heat. The building’s pyramidal shape, which is the result of staggering, also made it possible to allocate technical areas on the external face of the masonry, as well as on the internal face of the skin, ensuring a clean and unadorned plastic.
Another highlight of the project concerns the challenge of placing the pyramid on the ground, touching the land lightly at a single point with a “V” shaped pillar. Finally, to ensure flatness on the facades, the sheets were bent on all four sides, thus increasing their rigidity. Although the sheets were randomly perforated, the joints were aligned, and the volume was harmonious. There are only three horizontal profiles per floor, and the upper and lower profiles were also combined to fix the plates of the adjacent floors.
Photo credit: Pablo Gomide