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Aquarela by Atelier Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel releases new visuals of plant-covered Aquarela complex in Ecuador

New renders show Aquarela, a high-rise apartment complex designed by French practice Ateliers Jean Nouvel for Cumbayá, Ecuador, which will be covered in planted balconies.

Phase one, comprising of three terraced towers called Terra, Aqua and Cielo, completed in December 2020 along with the communal facilities. The next six towers will complete in three phases between 2021 and 2023.

Overhead view of Aquarela by Atelier Jean Nouvel
Three out of nine towers have completed

The high-rise apartment towers, arranged around a greenery-filled courtyard, will contain 573 apartments when the development is finished.

Architecture studios Alberto MEDEM and Humboldt Arquitectos are collaborating with Ateliers Jean Nouvel on the design, and Ecuadorian developer Uribe Schwarzkopf is creating the interiors for the first set of towers.

Courtyard of Aquarela by Atelier Jean Nouvel
High-rise blocks will be separated by a long courtyard

Aquarela is designed to complement its surroundings. Cumbayá sits in a lush valley on the side of a volcano, east of the capital Quito in the Tumbaco Valley.

New renders show how the apartment towers, each between seven and ten stories high, will be clad in stone and covered in native plants. The high-rise buildings are designed to echo the steep mountains, with the courtyard forming a pass between them.

Vertical gardens planted with trees and other plants will stud the face of the towers, along with decorative crevices for holding more greenery.

Balconies Aquarela by Atelier Jean Nouvel
The apartment buildings will be covered in planted balconies

A large array of residents' amenities will include an ice rink, bowling alley, mini-golf course, sports courts, rooftop pools on each tower, spa and saunas, yoga and spinning rooms, beauty salons, and a pet salon.

Sustainability is a key theme of the plans for Aquarela. The gardens will be watered with collected rainwater, and wastewater from the apartment plumbing system will be filtered and recirculated.

Gardens of Aquarela by Atelier Jean Nouvel
The gardens will be watered with collected rainwater

Solar panels mounted on the buildings will generate the power to heat the complex's water.

For every tree cut down to make way for the development another 10 will be planted, totalling 850 new trees. Residents will be able to access a lower interest rate on green mortgages due to Aquarela's sustainable credentials, according to the studio.

Visuals of Aquarela by Atelier Jean Nouvel
For every tree cut down during construction 10 more will be planted

Uribe Schwarzkopf is reflecting this biophilic approach in the interiors of the recently completed towers, with a front desk made of lightning-struck wood salvaged after a storm.

Lighting and other fixtures have been sourced from brands such as Flos, Vivia, Marcet, and Faro Barcelona, with furniture from Pedrali, Dedon, and Konkretus.

Ateliers Jean Nouvel was founded by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, whose recent projects include a cave hotel in Saudi Arabia and a university library in Cyprus.

Project credits:

Architectural team: ​Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Associated architects​: Alberto MEDEM, Humboldt Arquitectos
Architect of record:​ U​ribe Schwarzkopf
Interiors: ​Uribe Schwarzkopf

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Aquarela by Atelier Jean Nouvel
Aquarela by Atelier Jean Nouvel