INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen

Circles form interiors of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen

Curved walls and circular voids create unusual geometries within this university innovation centre in Chile, designed by architecture studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen.

Located at the University of Bío-Bío in Concepcion, INES is designed to inspire the creativity and imagination of its occupants.

Exterior of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES is located at the University of Bío-Bío in Concepcion

Chilean architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen hoped to do this by showing how a simple multi-storey building can become spatially complex.

Circular openings in the centre of each floorplate provide vertical views through the building, while curved walls frame separate rooms in all four corners.

Interior of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
The building is constructed from red pigmented concrete

All six storeys are slightly different, as the proportions of the circles gradually shift from floor to floor.

The effect is emphasised by a uniform materiality – the entire building is made from red pigmented concrete, which is visible both inside and out.

Circular voids in INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Circular openings of different sizes create visual connections between floors

"This is an apparently simple, stable and regular building that contains an unexpected and exaggerated interior," said Pezo and Von Ellrichshausen.

"This is the world of innovation," they continued, "a continuous, fluid and open space that conceptual and physically translates the creative processes of academic practice."

Upper level of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Corner rooms are framed by curved walls

Despite the apparent rigidity of the design concept, the building contains a variety of different spaces.

Each floor has its own open workspace, designed with group collaboration in mind. Thanks to the central void, these spaces are all visually connected.

Corner rooms in INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
The corner rooms are lined with oak

The oak-lined corner rooms have a very different feel. As they vary in size, they can be used for a variety of functions, such as meetings, exhibitions, workshops or simply for storage.

With this arrangement, every room in the building has windows facing in at least two different directions.

Staircase in INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
The concrete is imprinted with the texture of wood

Carefully calculated geometries are a common feature in the work of Pezo and Von Ellrichshausen, and circles in particular.

The pair previously unveiled a concept for a megastructure built from 100 overlapping circles. They followed this up by building a smaller version at the Venice Biennale in 2016.

Glazed facade of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Overhanging floorplates provide solar shading

Here, the circles offer a counterpoint to the horizontality of INES's concrete floor plates, which extend out beyond the building's walls to give depth to the facade.

Semi-circular openings puncture these overhangs, offering a hint of what can be found within.

Facade detail of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Semi-circular openings line up with the floor layout within

Each opening is carefully positioned, allowing sunlight to penetrate deep into the building's centre, while also ensuring that the corner rooms are adequately shaded.

"This kind of virtual extension, specially visible at dusk, might be understood as the imaginary projection of the creative people who will occupy these rooms," said the architects.

Photography is by Pezo von Ellrichshausen.


Project credits

Architects: Mauricio Pezo, Sofia von Ellrichshausen
Collaborators: Aleksi Vicic, Eva de Hovre, Diego Perez, Sofie Taveirne, Victoria Bodevin, Caitlyn Flowers
Structure: Luis Mendieta
Consultants: Citec, DyLuz

More images and plans

Site plan of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Site plan
Axonometric diagram of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Axonometric diagram
Basement floor plan of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Basement floor plan
Ground floor plan of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Ground floor plan
First floor plan of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
First floor plan
Second floor plan of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Second floor plan
Third floor plan of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Third floor plan
Fourth floor plan of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Fourth floor plan
Roof plan of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Roof plan
Cross section of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Cross section
Long section of INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Long section
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
INES innovation centre by Pezo von Ellrichshausen