Antonio Pedro Coutinho shared with us the entry he designed with Estelle Dugachard, Fabiana Araújo, Nanda Eskes, Ricardo Caruana for the competition regarding the expansion of the Environment Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The main challenge dealt in this competition was finding a way where the architecture would be inserted on the ecosystem where it was being planned; the magnificent Botanical Garden of the city of Rio de Janeiro. More images and description after the break.
The project aimed to be in a way an example of how human constructions can deal and work together with their natural processes and surroundings. Due to the museum’s environment theme, the project itself was thought to be inserted in the pedagogical process in which visitors were exposed to, learning by the construction of the museum itself how we can deal in a better way with nature. The Project interacts with the natural environment since the project and landscape design as well as the selection of low emitting building materials.
Landscape design: “Water as the equilibrium for the ecosystem” The botanical garden of Rio de Janeiro is located in a very important hydrographic basin of the city. It is situated on the intersection of very important distinct ecosystems such as mountain forests, various sources of rivers and marshy lowlands. The biggest problem of this complex environment is that the site suffers serious damages on rainy seasons, causing serious floods periodically. The projects creates flooding areas on the landscape so that the rainwater can be stored, reused by the building and park maintenance, and also help the great volume of rain to be slowly absorbed back to the soil causing no damages to the surroundings. It is also intended to explore the rich and diverse aquatic Brazilian ecosystem, with a huge variety of plant species being added for the collection of the botanical garden. These aquatic plants would be responsible for the recycling and treatment of the water for multi uses. The landscape design was thought to be self-explanatory of new ways where our cities can deal with our waters in a very harmonious and healthy way.
Structure The building concept was thought by investigating historical typologies of botanical garden buildings and the Brazilian indigenous hut techniques. It was chosen to work with reforested pine(“pinus caribea” ) wood. By this choice, we ensure that the building’s structure is being thought in a very sustainable way, despite all its advantages in relation to steel structures. Its external structure was thought as a membrane where it would work as a climate control, but at the same time keeping both internal and external spaces in constant relation. The main intention of the project is to reconnect the visitors to the natural habitats. To show visitors how architecture can be able to walk close and be benefitted by the natural processes in a harmonious environment.