LocationMiravalle, Quito 170136, Ecuador
Architect in ChargeJuan Pablo Ribadeneira Mora
Text description provided by the architects. Zambeze is an apartment building with four living units. Designed for a family that required every unit to have similar interior and exterior areas. That was resolved by placing one single apartment on the first floor, having open areas around it. As the building sits on a hill, the next two floors are occupied by two duplex units that have their exterior spaces on the back and sides of the lot. Finally, the remaining unit located on the fourth floor, had its exterior space created by covering the terraces on the second floor of the two duplex apartments. This creates a double story porch that is visible on the frontal facade.
The Miravalle area, where the building is located at, has the privileged views of the Cumbaya valley towards the East. This is why the frontal façade, which faces this direction, is very open, taking advantage of these views.
The structure of the building is made of cast-in-place concrete. Its columns, beams and ceilings are all exposed in the interior of the apartments. Artisanal brick was used to build the perimeter of the building, which was left exposed in the interior and exterior walls. Other materials used were wood for the screen that hides the vehicular access to the building and becomes an important element of the facade, and iron for the stairs of the duplex apartments and the hand railing of its terraces.
Important design details are the spaces creating tension on the side facades. These spaces help transition materials and divide volumes when they change in height. These height variations happen as the building responds to the positive gradient of the hill. Other important aspects are the green and brick combination on the terraces. Said terraces were designed in such way to allow trees to grow in every level of the building. Additionally, the side walls of the double story porches of the duplex apartments are made of artisanal brick. However, they are placed leaving spaces between them allowing more daylight in and, at the same time, giving privacy from its close neighbors.