Vivalto Building / Najas Arquitectos

Architects: Najas Arquitectos
Location: Gonzalo Endara Crown, Quito EC170124, Ecuador
Design: Esteban Najas Raad
Project Area: 7000 sqm
Project Year: 2013
Photographs: Sebastián Crespo

Collaboration: Francisco Landázuri
Contractor: Corprancagua

From the architect. Vivalto is located at a 1600m2 corner lot in a residential area. Being a commission for a real estate group, from the beginning, our motivation was to try to re-invent the character of apartment buildings in northern Quito since unfortunately, promoters usually disconnect buildings internal life from its community with the goal to make them “exclusive” or “secure” as marketing slogans. We tried to give back, and give in, not only to the city, but to spatial relationships between owners, promoting the feelings of belonging and community living.

It is said that in the sixteenth century, pre-colonial Spanish architects used to be asked by clients: “Give me a home with a large patio and good corridors; and if some space is left to spare, make me a room.” Thus, the architectural elements of Vivalto arise from our interest to reinterpret the typology of Moorish courtyard houses that are typical is post-colonial Quito and make it contemporary.

Spatially, the project is resolved through a 6 floor volume with a central patio surrounded by internal balconies and planters. The 215m2 central gallery/garden is illuminated from above. Apartments are located in the perimeter so they are open to the outside to create terraces with distant views of the Cumbayá valley.

Covered by glass, the central courtyard opens laterally to the exterior through 2 openings at the end of each corridor. Each internal hallway is flanked by wood planters with random geometric patterns that break the orthogonal lines of the interior “walls”. These openings promote cross ventilation to prevent greenhouse effect and improve the acoustic characteristics of the central courtyard.

The courtyard is primarily a green area, looking up, the interlaced vertical (concrete) and horizontal (wood) facades make up a more introspective and welcoming environment. The Fixed Point elevators and emergency stairs are enclosed to comply with local fire protection codes and it is coated with vines and planters that help this volume more organic.

At the top floor, there is a 320m2 communal green area, community hall and culinary and recreational spaces. This addition at the top of the building allows people to enjoy the surrounding views and also are open to the central galleria.

The main access to the building has been resolved by subtraction of the ground floor volume´s corner. This produces a transitional exterior space prior to entering the building that is related to the street life.

Underground parking has natural lighting and ventilation in its two levels with a double height void. A Garden of trees springs from the second basement level to the exterior.

The elements of vegetation, use of materials, spatial and volumetric solutions combine to make a housing project that evokes the memory of colonial life with a contemporary approach.

Vivalto Building / Najas Arquitectos originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 14 Oct 2014.

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