The winner in the category “Built environment” is the Harmonia // 57 Office Building in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is designed by Triptyque Architects, Paris, France/Sao Paulo, Brazil and completed in 2008.
The award in the “Built Environment” category will go to an outstanding architectural, engineering or urban design project realised within the last two years that meets current demands for sustainable living and envisages the needs of the future. The award-winner will receive a purse of EUR 80,000.
French-Brazilian architects Triptyque were asked to create an innovative hybrid space to house a small company. It had to be versatile and allow spontaneous changes in layout and use.
The building is located in a neighbourhood on the west side of Sao Paulo, where artistic life and creativity increasingly shape the streetscape. The site is distinguished by the climate of a tropical country with massive rain showers and very high temperatures, as well as rich soil with natural underground systems.
Harmonia // 57 is an office building, with a planted façade irrigated by a mist system. The walls are thick and covered externally by a layer of vegetation that works like the skin of the structure. This dense wall is made of an organic concrete that has pores, where several plant species grow.
Concerning the energy concept, the project’s hydro system combines low-tech materials and elements with a simple irrigation system and innovative water treatment. Furthermore, to store the large volume of water without generating a high-cost infrastructure, a broader rain-water re-use programme provides good thermal conditions within the building. A green roof directs a portion of the runoff into the groundwater, generates fresh air and reduces the need for air conditioning and withholding a fair share of the rain water. The surplus of water from the roofs is stored and supplies toilets and provides irrigation.
Moreover, the construction was halted for about ten days, and the site was used as an event space during construction period. It became an open gallery, where the site workers and artists collaborated to create an exhibition with accompanying public lectures and debates