Thursday, September 4

Building breathes, sweats, through 'skin'

The French/Brazilian architecture firm Triptyque designs a unique self-misting green building: the Harmonia 57

Like a living body, this building breathes, sweats, grows new skin and modifies itself.

The walls are thick and will be covered externally by a green layer that works like the skin of the structure. Unlike the brick walls of an ivy-covered building, these porous concrete walls are actually impregnated with their growing plant cover as they have large fist-sized pores, intended to be the growing medium for the vegetation. (Then there is an inner skin that is smooth and non-porous.)

Rainwater will be harvested and used and reused to mist the plants growing in the porous organic concrete. Soil waters are drained, treated and reused, forming a complex ecosystem within the building.

Currently the exterior pipelines that serve the whole building – as well as the pumps and the water treatment system – are starkly visible on the outside walls, but as the plant growth matures, the pipes will be more integrated into it, embracing the "skin" like the veins and arteries of a body.

Designed by the French-Brazilian architecture firm Triptyque, Harmonia 57 is an office building in what appears to be the SoHo of São Paulo: "The project in Harmonia Street is located in a neighborhood in the west side of São Paulo, where artistic life and creativity penetrates easily, where galleries and walls are mixed up, functioning as a stage for new expression forms." It will be represented at the at Venice Architectural Biennale from September 13th, as part of the French Pavilion. This will be an even more interesting building to see once the exterior plants have taken hold.

For Matternetwork