Richard Meier & Partners has completed their first project in South America, a 7-story, sustainable office building in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Leblon. The building will feature concrete, glass and vertical gardens, and will serve as the new international headquarters for top Brazilian investment firm VINCI Partners. The structure consists of open office spaces looking out onto several private interior courtyards and a series of terraces that create a connection with the main urban thoroughfare of Bartolomeu Mitre Avenue.
The building contains 7 floors and 6,500 square meters of leasable floor space, as well as 3 underground floors for private parking and additional office space. A spacious lobby anchors the building to the street, as a louvered facade rises from the ground to shield the building’s western elevation from sun and for privacy.
“The design of the Leblon project does not contextualize itself with its material palette, but rather through its articulation and layering of the primary façade with a screen,” explains Bernhard Karpf, design partner-in-charge. “This enables the building to recede from the city while maintaining a street front. It offers its inhabitants the desired privacy and protection from the sun while maintaining a visual connection to the street and the sense of transparency.”
The building’s eastern section has been pulled back from neighboring buildings to create the internal courtyards and allow natural light to penetrate into each office space from multiple fronts. Lush vertical gardens act as the skewer, connecting the open-air atriums and the building’s exposed concrete core.
“Looking at the context has always been something that is very important in our work,” says Richard Meier. “We look at how that project not only fulfills the functional requirements of what it is, but how it responds to where it is and how it enlivens the community. Brazil’s architecture celebrates natural light, openness and nature’s intimate relationship with the built environment, and these are elements that we have integrated in the design of the new Leblon Offices.”
The firm hopes the office project will become a significant architectural contribution to Rio de Janeiro’s rich heritage, while providing needed climate-designed office space for the city.
This is Richard Meier & Partners first completed building in the region, but have designed seven buildings throughout Latin America, including the Reforma Towers in Mexico City, Mexico and the Vitrvm development in Bogota, Colombia both of which are currently under construction.