A new neighborhood for Río de Janeiro
The tower is planned with all the facilities a neighborhood would need. It's main characteristic is the ramp that develops itself between two structural skins. It begins in the street level and finishes in a panoramic swimming pool. In the ramp are situated the neighborhood basic services, such as newsstands, kiosks, bread kiosks or wi-fi zones. It is a pedestrian ramp-street, and when it arrives to each of the five different squares it also becomes part of the program and activities conducted therein.
The square5 (the one situated in the highest position) is a hotel, with its reception, administration, hotel cafe, internet-cafe, resting area, conference room and solarium. The square4 is the sports facilities one, with indoor sports court, gym, rock climbing wall and outdoor sports court. The square3 is the educational one, with outdoor projections, cine club, library, nursery and classrooms. The square2 is the retail one, with shops, studios, rehearsal rooms and community vegetable gardens. And the square1 is the access and encloses technical facilities as well as is open to the city and the boardwalk.
There are four different widths of housing units distributed over the street-ramp, each one 0.6 m wider than the previous. Widths combine in such a way that, after a complete spin, the total width of the tower's side grows 1.2 m. This makes rhombus structure, that adapts to the ramp, grows in the same way. As a result the tower has its characteristic pot bellied shape.
The ramp rises 9.9 m at each ring. Therefore, the slope of the ramp changes depending on the length of each side; the length varies depending on the widths of the condominiums distributed. The ramp also has the basic function of stiffening the overall structure of the tower through their beams that connect the nodes of the two bearing skin-structures.
The main innovation of this tower is the creation of a self-sustaining neighborhood with a particular element, a pedestrian ramp. This ramp acts like a real street, allowing access to all of the housing units, as well as every square and public facility. Only when a tall building embodies the characteristics of a vertical street it will exceed the mono-functionality; and only then it will become an expansion of public space and provide opportunities for human interaction.
A proper articulation of the social fabric in the neighborhood/tower is guaranteed by small businesses, community gardens, meeting halls, rehearsal rooms, and above all, thanks to community life generated by the pedestrian ramp-street. Housing residents are only interested in events they can perceive from their homes. Traditionally, public and semipublic spaces were areas that extended into the dwellings and carried out many social functions and neighborhood contacts. The prerequisite is the capacity to establish visual relationships. The tower occupants will have their own neighborhood and, as a result, the residents of Rio de Janeiro will be able to the use new public facilities included on it.
The tower acts as a new landmark for Río; establishing a strong and clear relationship with the city's relief. In this tower the perception has three different scales: a housing scale of the home, a neighborhood scale, looking at the ramp/vertical street, and a city scale, looking to the horizon of Rio. In a country like Brazil, the promotion of street life is certainly an adaptation to the previous context.
Used materials and other features
Steel is used for the main structure. Concrete for the ramp and all the other slabs. Wire netting as the light enclosure. Housing units are covered by glass and sandwich panels. The tower structure is very permeable ensuring proper ventilation, ideal for countries with high temperatures.
The large central voids are interconnected, increasing and improving this ventilation. This allows power generation with small wind turbines. Housing and living spaces are protected from excessive sunlight through a wire mesh enclosure that increases in density with higher daylight exposures. In addition, housing units have terraces that act as intermediate spaces, such spaces further act as shading protecting units from excessive solar gain. In summer, it is not necessary to use air conditioner units. For domestic water heating, solar collectors are arranged in the proper orientation. Water harvesting is done by the slope of the ramp, that leads to different tanks for later use. Further, grey water is reused by sewage treatment plants.