Giant openings puncture Elemental’s "monolithic" concrete innovation centre

“We thought that the biggest threat to an innovation centre is obsolescence; functional and stylistic obsolescence,” said the architect, “in that sense the response to the context was nothing but the rigorous use of common sense.”
Photograph by Nico SaiehOn the interior the floors face onto a wood and glass-lined atrium at the centre of the building with a circulation path at either end. The spaces are designed as a “matrix” of formal and informal areas with sofas, office furniture and exposed ceilings where both individuals and teams could work, and encounter other researchers. Related story: Glass boxes cantilever from the concrete core of Tatiana Bilbao’s Bioinnova university buildingThe client requested a building with a “contemporary look” but the studio felt a “professional responsibility” to avoid the environmental and design pitfalls of the glass-fronted buildings typically associated with innovation in the Chilean capital. Photograph by Nina Vidic”We thought that face-to-face contact is unbeatable when one wants to create knowledge,” he said. Photograph by Victor OddoTo avoid costly air-conditioning bills, the architects added large recessed openings in the concrete facades   that provide air flow and cooling for the building’s interior. Photograph by Nico SaiehThe architects claim this feature has halved the standard energy consumption used by a glass tower block in Santiago. Photograph by Nico SaiehElemental   designed the 8,176-square-metre   Innovation Center UC – Anacleto Angelini on the campus of the   Universidad Católica de Chile,   in Santiago. Photograph by Nina Vidic”We multiplied throughout the building the places where people could meet: from the elevator’s lobby with a bench where to sit if you happen to run into somebody that has interesting information to share, to a transparent atrium where you can sneak into what others are doing while circulating vertically, to elevated squares throughout the entire height of the building.”
Site plan – click for larger imageGround floor plan – click for larger imageSeventh floor plan – click for larger imageSection – click for larger image This concrete innovation centre at a Chilean university by Santiago studio Elemental has deep recessed windows designed to cool its network of communal interior spaces (+ slideshow). Photograph by Nico Saieh”This building had to respond to the client’s expectation of having an innovation centre with a ‘contemporary look’,” said studio director Alejandro Aravena, “but the uncritical search for the contemporary has populated Santiago with glass towers that due to the desert climatic local condition have serious greenhouse effect in the interiors.”
Photograph by Nina VidicA reinforced concrete construction was selected for the building, which has a facade made up of volumes of stacked concrete block-work and deep three-storey-high windows. The 14-storey building, which includes three floors underground, was created as a space where companies and businesses could converge with researchers.

Updated: 07.11.2014 — 03:46