Foster + Partners Green Building in Buenos Aires: The Aleph

English architecture studio Foster + Partners is about to start building a sustainable luxury apartment building in one of Buenos Aires top neighborhoods, Puerto Madero. The first of this high profile firm in South America.

The building, called The Aleph, was designed with the aim to selectively recycle some parts of an old property and to take the most advantage of the city's sun for light and climate control. Plus, the architecture firm is closely analyzing the building materials to make sure they are locally sourced and produced in a sustainable way.

Find out more about the project and some of the studies conducted with bricks in the extended.The Aleph Buenos Aires Design

Sir Norman Foster and his partners are not new at TreeHugger: we have extensively covered projects like Masdar City, McLaren Technology Center and the Green Tower in Moscow for their approaches to sustainable building. So it's no surprise that when they were called by Faena Properties to build a luxury apartment building in Buenos Aires, they would turn to green practices too.

Those begin at the mere conception of the new space. The project combines new construction with the selective refurbishment of existing buildings and will also incorporate several social and cultural spaces in its surroundings to encourage meeting and sharing in the neighborhood.


A view of the social area near the building.

Apart from that, the Aleph itself will incorporate green concepts mainly associated with natural heating and lighting control to encourage outdoor living. From the project website:

"[The exterior of the building] is a fine and finished exposed vaulted concrete structure expressing itself towards the exterior. All slab edges will protect outwards so that full height and fully flexible sliding glazed screens can open and close the interior to the exterior like patio windows. In front of this are a combination of projecting or set back balconies, solar screens and glazed balustrades."



Each facade orientation will have particular adjustments to protect the apartments from the different intensities of the Argentine sun: the north will deal with vertical midday sun, the east against mild morning sun, the west with strong afternoon sun (which can melt you in the summer), while the south facade will have to invite as much sunlight as possible.





Foster's Search for Sustainable Materials

The architecture studio behind The Aleph is also following closely the materials used in the building. According to the magazine ARQ by Clarin newspaper, Foster + Partners requested a detailed analysis of the local materials and their impact in the environment.

The studio asked the Architecture, Design and Urbanism Faculty to go through wood, concrete, paints, glass, petrol based materials, and --especially, bricks.

Of course Argentina is years behind when it comes to environmental control so it's no surprise that the faculty found that there's absolutely no control in 99% of the bricks production: no control in the extraction of fertile dirt, and neither in the cooking process (today performed at open sky). Fortunately the group of investigators found also that there's an alternative by controlling the extraction of dirt and cooking the bricks in a closed oven.

As the studies on materials continue, it was not yet informed which the architecture studio will choose to use.

More about The Aleph building at the project's website and at Foster + Partners site.

El Aleph
Foster + Partners El Aleph Page
Faena Properties
For more on Foster + Partners Sustainable Buildings read:
Foster's intervention at the German Parliament
Masdar City Project at United Arab Emirates
McLaren Technology Center
Green Tower in Moscow

Tags: Architects | Architecture | Argentina | Buenos Aires | Energy Efficiency | Green Building