Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld designed this apartment block in São Paulo as 62 "houses with yards", which are stacked on top of one another like the blocks of a Jenga game (+ slideshow).
The 360º Building, which was presented at the World Architecture Festival earlier this month, is a 20-storey tower block located at the peak of a ridge between the neighbourhoods of Alto de Pinheiros and Alto da Lapa in the west of the city.
Isay Weinfeld wanted to avoid the typical São Paulo typology of compact apartments with little or no outside space. "We have strived to introduce 360º Building as an alternative to the vertical multi-family housing model, which, in its commonest form, merely stacks up apartment units," said the studio.
Rather than adding small balconies, the architect gave each home its own terrace. These spaces are all tucked between apartments, offering shelter from the elements and a degree of privacy.
Apartment sizes vary from 130 to 250 square-metres in area, and there are between two and four homes on each floor.
These specifications provide a total of six different floor types, which alternate to create a volume reminiscent of Jenga - a children's game where wooden blocks are removed from a tower and placed back on top.
The base of the building is set into the hillside. Residents enter via a suspended walkway at first-floor level, bridging a swimming pool that runs around the perimeter.
Communal lounge areas and laundry facilities are located on the ground floor, while three floors of parking are housed in the basement.
The project was shortlisted in the housing award category at the World Architecture Festival, but lost out to an apartment block inside a former YMCA building in Los Angeles. One year earlier, Weinfeld's Fazenda Boa Vista Golf Clubhouse topped the sports category.
Photography is by Fernando Guerra.
Here's more information from Isay Weinfeld:
360º Building will be erected in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, where currently over 10 million people live spread over 1,525 km2. In this setting, unfortunately the "norm" is to live not at one's best, but crammed and confined, and to commute long distances everyday between home, work and other commitments, by car, bus, or subway. The time left for leisure is scarce, and few are the options to enjoy activities in the open air.
Mindful of the urban reality in São Paulo, of the market and of the client brief, we have strived to introduce 360º Building as an alternative to the vertical multi-family housing "model", which, in its commonest form, merely stacks up apartment units - ordinary, compact and closed onto themselves.
360º Building, rising on top of the ridge separating the districts of Alto de Pinheiros and Alto da Lapa - a geographic location that will offer privileged sights of the surrounding area and the city -, will feature 62 elevated "homes with yards": real yards, not balconies, designed as genuine living spaces, wide, airy and bright. It will present 7 types of apartments - either 130, 170 or 250 m2 - combined in sets of 2, 3 or 4 units per floor, in 6 different arrangements.
Leaving the street and past the reception, a suspended walkway will lead to the building's lobby, surrounded on all sides by a reflective pool. Down one floor, on the ground level, entertaining areas and other facilities - gym, lounge, party room and laundry - will be located, as also the janitor's living quarters. Further down, there will be 3 parking levels, and, on the lowermost level, employees quarters, storage and engine rooms, in addition to a sauna and an outdoor swimming pool. The land, a steep downwards slope, allowed the lower levels to be semi-subterranean, always keeping 2 sides open to the light and to ventilation.
The building projects to all sides showing no distinction between main and secondary façades.
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