Leppanen + Anker Architects completed a contemporary landmark in Quito
Located in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, GAIA Building has been constructed by Leppanen + Anker Architects as a new contemporary landmark for the city. The 14 storey, 15,000 sq.m. mixed-use building has commercial spaces on the lower floor, offices on the next four floors and residential units on the last nine.
The building is located at an important intersection within the city where urban elements converge, such as a new metro stop, an important government building, a commercial shopping center and the most emblematic park of the city.
“Being the first new construction in this zone and highly visible, the building attempts to combine the many existing and new diverse elements through movements that bring new shadow lines reflections and points of view. In the search for spatial wealth elements of the facade were eliminated, this is achieved by a design concept that removes strategic corners of the building,” said the architects.
New exterior areas at the top of the building take advantage of the park's visual and excellent equatorial climate that prevails throughout the year. Deep perimeter balconies that wrap around the building help reduce solar gain in the interior spaces, allowing for the use of larger portions of glass in the façade without sacrificing passive climate controlled spaces.
GAIA contains a large roof garden that makes a visual connection with the surrounding Andes Mountains while creating usable green space for the building’s residents.
The façade of the building uses a material process known as GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete). “Molds were made in close collaboration with the architect’s digital model and the fabricators work shop to provide accurate and a well coordinated process. The concrete material is then sprayed onto the molds to create the final product,” explained the architects.
The design and the construction process of the contemporary landmark utilizes a repeatable patterning system to reduce the overall amount of molds used in creating the dynamic building façade. The advantage of this material is efficiency of installation, as panels are fabricated up to 4 meters by 2 meters tall. Molds are also able to be reused, reducing the material used and fabrication time.
Also designed and built into the installation process is a system of adjustable metallic connections allowing the complex forms to align with ease. The final product is a continuous dynamic façade system.
The coordination between the Leppanen + Anker Architects, the developer and builder, Uribe & Schwarzkopf, was vital for the development of the GAIA Building, resulting in a new contemporary landmark in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.
Photography by: Sebastián Crespo