Cultural Center of IAB-MG
|Architects||Alexandre Brasil e Carlos Alberto Maciel|
|Location||Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil|
Four aspects were pre-determinant for this IAB Cultural Center proposal:
1- the integral preservation of the current headquarters, its structure, its installations and some of the sealing walls;
2- an occupation of reminiscent areas capable of integrating the new building with the current headquarters, granting a simple yet vigorous view for those who appreciate it from the street;
3- the creation of independent and universal accesses, potentializing the general and unrestricted use of the entire complex or of each individual part.
4- the exhaustive use of available materials, not only through its traditionally accepted applications, but also as a way of technological experimenting, always seeking prized architectural invention.
About the Architectural Party
We chose to preserve the existing building, designing new constructions on reminiscent spaces. Two new blocks, a posterior one housing the auditorium and exhibitions, and a protagonist frontal one where spaces of essential public use are located, articulate themselves with the current headquarters through a third linear and vertical element which houses the circulation. At the base, a steel-clad volume corresponds to the underground parking lot and contrasts with the delicacy of the white horizontal structure that rests over it. And lastly, to end the perspective, the vertical volume of circulations, at times transparent, at times opaque as the basement, manifests architecture as seeking the most use out of light and shadow resources, exploring concepts of light and dark, full and empty, dense and transparent.
About the urban insertion of the building
The volumes grant the IAB’s headquarters a new image, and as a result a new relation between the building and the street is established. Two terraces, one of them adjacent to the entrance and the other located on the upper floor, guarantee greater visibility of the building towards the street. On the other hand, the spaces of intrinsic public use -restaurant and bookstore- are located on the frontal horizontal block, along with the main hall, where transparency and openings predominate, guaranteeing generous access towards the permanence areas with great contact with the street. The use of steel displays the technology, at times oxidized (basement and crowning of circulation blocks), at times painted white (frontal volume), at times stainless (sealing panels at the restaurant, dispensing the use of glass). At last, the project seeks to conceive a strong image of the building, capable of contrasting with its immediate surroundings with its unusual proportions and materials, without ornaments that could compromise its sleek yet robust character.
About internal spaces organization
At the same time the accesses were carefully studied as a way of ensuring the independent functioning of each part, including the service areas at the restaurant, underground with a way out to the street, the spaces are capable of articulating themselves in case a greater integration is needed, for bigger events, for example. The restaurant, foyer, exhibitions, back patio and frontal terrace correspond to independent spaces, different from each other, but capable of complete integration. As a possible extension of the main foyer or as an alternative foyer of the auditorium, the upper terrace, accessed through the central staircase or another one located at the restaurant, is capable of proposing a continuation of these spaces. The walkway that connects both spaces crosses a double height ceiling void, acquiring scenic character and establishing a strong connection between both floors. A wide glass panel illuminates this space, facing south. To complement it, a generous zenith with sheds located at the central void of the existing building brings natural light to the foyer and library. The linear volume of vertical circulations also acts as a skylight to all the Cultural Center’s main spaces.
On exhibition spaces, the lighting from the left high opening, over the existent IAB building, acts alongside the zenital opening on the opposite side, reinforcing the ceiling height variation provided by the auditorium above. At the back, an interior courtyard grants outdoor space to the exhibition areas. This space can also be used for future expansion of administrative areas.
For the latter, the project proposes the minimum construction of fixed divisions, favoring a greater flexibility of uses, as it’s convenient for multiple users spaces that can also be, at times, of temporary use. Its location is strategically placed as a way of enabling the simultaneous control of the foyer and library activities, dismissing the excessive quantity of employees. It also counts on independent use and great ambiental conditions, meaning great thermal comfort as well as sound insulation related to the street.
About essential technical and economic aspects
The coherent and conscious use of available materials is associated with architectural invention. Throughout the project, the best possible use of each diverse material is always sought, like the use of oxidized steel associated with the glass or with the auditorium’s structure, which leans in a way capable of enabling lateral lighting over the exhibition. The minimal internal divisions and opaque pivoting panels of the exhibition and library are done with gypsum plates on a metallic structure. The restaurant’s sliding panels in stainless steel dismiss any other type of closing pans and make a grand varanda out of the space. And the glass alternates between transparent and silk-screened, the latter being used where it’s interesting to partially conceal the scene, as it was applied on the elevator box, vaguely displaying itself to whoever walks down the street.
The stainless steel is also used in the marquee over the access doors towards the upper floor’s terrace, preventing water entry and avoiding unwanted glass stains caused by the runoff of the oxidation above.
The elevator guarantees universal access to the auditorium. Inside this grand space, the gypsum is used once again, also counting with the required sound insulation. Externally, the auditorium’s volume is covered in aluminum corrugated tiles, over metallic structure, acting as sealing and finishing simultaneously.
At last, the project sought to create a balanced and coherent space, with a striking image as required by its use, while also counting on economic solutions, as it’s substantial in today’s time.