Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has completed its first building in South America, with the completion of its “IQON” tower in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.
BIG began work on the building more than four years ago – a time when the city’s skyline was undergoing a number of changes due to the relocation of the airport in the city centre. Until then, buildings remained low for obvious reasons, but once they were moved, new buildings could be built higher than before.
IQON rises 130 meters, making it the tallest building in Quito. Designed as a “vertical community,” it houses apartments, retail spaces, public art programs and communal living areas. As for the design, the main architectural identity comes through its “stripped” facade, in which the concrete structure doubles as the building’s dominant aesthetic. The team describes the blocks that make up the structure as “individual pixels”, each stacked over the 32 floors to create terraces and provide expansive views of the surrounding city and parks.
“We tried to take all the iconic qualities of Quito – such as the joy of living in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in a city on the equator where the seasons are perfect for both human and plant life – and bring that experience into the vertical dimension,” says Ingels. “IQON is an entire vertical community of individual homes; an extension of La Carolina Park that now climbs up to the roof.”
On the ground floor, public spaces, shops and a path connecting the park to the neighborhood have been created. While raw concrete defines the exterior of the building, the material palette is more refined inside – for example, custom marble elements and warm wood create a sense of arrival in the lobby. The surrounding biophilia also became a major inspiration for the building’s interior scheme, and planters were injected around the public spaces into the private homes. Each of the planters has room for the roots of the tree to grow, and once the tree outgrows its planter, it will be replanted in parks across the city.
Take a look around IQON above, and for more architecture, check out Sydney’s new modern art gallery designed by SANAA, which is powered entirely by renewable energy.