Top Towers by Konigsberger & Vannucchi

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Brazilian architects Konigsberger & Vannucchi have completed construction of two office towers for property company Brascan Imobiliaria in São Paulo, Brazil.

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The project, comprising of two adjacent towers of 24 and 21 storeys, is situated in the city's financial and commercial centre.

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Each floor of the tower features a different interior layout, with every office having its own exterior terrace.

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The following is from Konigsberger & Vannucchi:

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Top Towers: Formal complexity and constructive simplicity
São Paulo, SP

This project in São Paulo, Brazil, demanded the design of two office towers in a terrain of relatively difficult occupation, because of its narrow and elongated shape.

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Its location, however, is extremely privileged, situated in the confluence of some of the city’s most important avenues, Paulista Ave., Vergueiro Ave., and Vinte e Três de Maio Ave. The opportunity to design a new building in such a place also represented a great potential for the creation of a new landmark of great visibility in the city’s skyline.

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Thus, two major guidelines were present at the development of the Top Towers project. The first was a group of typical demands from the real estate market, which included the thorough use of the terrain’s building potential, the optimization of the private areas and the adoption of the best possible relation between private and common areas.

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The second consisted in the architect’s concern of imbuing the project with great formal richness and impressive plasticity that could achieve the goal of creating a new urban reference.

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These two relatively conflicting guidelines also needed to be matched through the use of simple and economic constructive techniques, commonly employed by the average building companies in Brazil. This took to the effort of exploring new and innovative applications for common-use, traditional building methods.

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What was in search was a simple technical solution that wouldn’t force simplicity in the resulting formal effect and that, quite the contrary, could become an architectonical representation of the rich diversity of the surrounding urban tissue.

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The two towers are composed by compact office rooms that could be united to each other by the owners in various different ways, thus producing almost infinite possibilities of area and shape for the final commercial units.

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From this concern with the flexibility of the plans came the proposal of adopting multiple setbacks as the towers grew in height, so that there would be different floor models available; these setbacks would be mirrored in opposite directions in each tower, establishing a relation of formal tension between both.

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Small terraces were incorporated to each office unit that comprise two different functions. The first of technical character, the installation of individual HVAC units; the second as a space destined for the contemplation of the breathtaking view proportioned by the site.

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Although open terraces in commercial units are a somewhat atypical proposal, the solution is perfectly coherent, considering the beautiful panoramic view that reaches up to the city’s downtown in one direction and the green fields of the Ibirapuera park in another, also including almost the whole extension of the famous Paulista Ave.

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The terraces were distributed along a game of displacements between the floors, creating a composition that at first might seem random, but, seen from a distance, reinforce the sensation of tension between both towers, such as fragments of an explosion spreading in opposite directions.

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Structurally, these terraces work as small extensions in balance of the wide concrete slab that supports each floor. This solution allowed the composition of this game of displacements without any need of dislodging the modulation of beams or pillars that form the building’s skeleton. The final result has the appearance of great complexity, but is actually developed on design and structural principles of strict and rigorous simplicity.

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The formal complexity is also incremented by a series of empty concavities in various points of the towers, as though some of the units were casually removed. This allowed the contact between the common hall in each floor and the exterior of the building, bringing light and air to this often neglected space.

The towers were positioned along the extension of the terrain, but with a slight disarray between both that makes the whole project have totally different aspects depending on the point from where it’s seen. From the south, they detach themselves as two independent volumes; from the north, they are fused together, becoming a lone monolithic ziggurat.

The materials were selected giving priority to the building economy and efficiency. Finishing materials of simple use, easy maintenance and high durability were privileged, whereas more expensive materials that wouldn’t have great impact on the final aesthetical result were abandoned.

This option resides on the acknowledgement that good architecture expresses itself through beauty and harmony of forms, not through the use of seemingly sophisticated materials that add nothing to the quality of the design, only to its final cost. In this way, the project strove to achieve an architecture that could be recognized as generous to the city, without being too costly for the client.

Conceptually, the Top Towers aim to reference, albeit in a contemporary and renovated way, the playful modulated façades of so many of São Paulo’s buildings from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s that still stand in the city’s downtown. Its impacting language of light and shadows is also related to today’s world contemporary production, one in which Architecture is again an expressive protagonist in the city’s built environment.

Technical data - Top Towers

Authors: Jorge Königsberger and Gianfranco Vannucchi
Collaboration: Sandra Dellarole, Huang Kuo Che, Liliane Caparelli, Carla Estrella, Luiz Boscardin and Luiz Paulo Eigenheer

Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Area of the terrain: 3.802,49 m²
Total built area: 25.929,97 m²
Total private area:

  • Tower A: 7422,26 m²
  • Tower B: 6993,27 m²

Number of floors:

  • Tower A: 24 floors + 3 underground levels
  • Tower B: 21 floors + 3 underground levels

Number of units:

  • Tower A: 217 units
  • Tower B: 206 units

Number of parking spaces: 332
Development of the project: 2005 - 2006
Building period: 2007 - 2008

  • brown_ie

    it’s too thick…… !!! it’s too post world war II in hungary getto

  • tommi

    really interesting & simple…. guess it wont cost too much?!

  • Mattia Nuzzo

    Couldn’t they have done a bit more with color? They seem a bit too reminiscent of the omnipresent apartment blocks that sprouted up in Europe after the war.

  • http://www.vyonyx.com nikolay

    i like it!

    i guess the developer made sure he can easily target the housing market if the need for offices goes down :)

  • eduardo

    the idea is good, but the result is boring, heavy!

  • FN

    whow!!!

  • merf

    le vele 2

  • andi

    yeah… nice facade, ugly volume.

  • Matt

    this stuff rocks

    no color, simple concept, cheap, easy to understand and catchy, what else would you like for architecture?

    congrats guys

  • Richie

    Offices that look like residential blocks.. the ideas seem well thought through on paper but I think the result would look better if the beige material was chosen to be more contrasting with the white balcony blocks.

  • amsam

    “new and innovative applications for common-use, traditional building methods” exactly. when greedy developers require that kind of massive density and cheap building costs, to come up with such a creative solution to even partially solve the problem is quite amazing. I want to see what these guys do given a little more $ nd flexibility.

  • chants

    already looks dated, I agree looks very post war type of architecture

  • CO

    It is a hideously huge, totalizing and extremely “ordinary” block of flats with a shallow attempt of aestheticizing it through a gesture of fragmentation on the façade. It is nothing new. We have already had so much of it and this planet does not need any more of these.

    Even iron curtain “Plattenbau” responds better to human scale.

    I won’t be surprised at all if it stands side by side to a favela.

  • s

    wonderful.

    solid, subtle.

  • http://www.odris.blogspot.com odris

    linda juegos de simetrias ygeometriias

  • …KrLoS…

    Other materials would fit better and change the personality of the building……but it`s a good idea…..good job

  • maaama

    well, it should have been thinner maybe:::

  • M!

    Please!!! There´s no Favela in that part of São Paulo!!!

    Anyway, the image of a Favela is very complex, it is that kind of chaos that humans are expecting…

  • Patrick

    Guys,

    stop comparing to “European post-war buildings” and “social housing”! Social housing in Brazil (if there is any) has less storeys and is completely different from what you see here! That part of town is inhabited by middle-class people in real apartments! An apartment in the surrounding buildings is not that bad and even cherished and sought!

    Great and very subtle URBAN architecture! Congrats!

  • majestictopaz

    Perfect, its as if its been there for 50 years.

  • Will M

    Cool- if someone decides to jump from the top floor it would be a bit like pachinko.

  • Joel DW

    Looks drab if you ask me, needs color and some life. The close ups are interesting maybe if they were “low rise” about seven stories, this 3D surface treatment would’ve came across better.

  • gustavo

    hi, please mention photographer’s name.
    2008 © Leonardofinotti.com
    photo@leonardofinotti.com
    http://leonardofinotti.blogspot.com

  • Valentine

    looks like a big chest of drawers! for womens' shoes or clothes :DDD