Morini Arquitectos

Cordoba, Argentina

October 2016





Fundación Universidad Empresarial Siglo 21




Conceived as a visual landmark for the school, the tall structure is perforated with a variety of geometric apertures ,inspired by the porosity of the rocks, that openly display the building’s internal activity. The tower contains a series of workshops and laboratories, which employ unconventional teaching techniques and technologies. Consequently, the ‘experimenta 21 tower’ has been designed to express the school’s ‘unconventional’ and ‘disruptive’ carácter. Existing in perpendicular contrast to the remainder of the campus, the concrete structure affords simple, yet flexible internal layouts articulated around a vertical void (courtyard) that rises through the building. This gesture also provides and ensures natural light and ventilation. The functional scheme is simple, elements of vertical circulation provide access to a hall whose dimensions allow it to function as an expansion of the workshops it serves and that can potentially accommodate future growth. This space is practically transparent and composed of two vertical courtyards.The free space left by the metallic structure of the elevator passage and the glass floors supported by a metallic lattice that transform it virtually into a great courtyard of light through which workshops are Illuminated and that allow, at the same time, students to view the diversity of activities carried out there.


Experimenta 21 building is a distinctive concrete tower added to the University Campus in Córdoba, Argentina, originally masterplanned by César Pelli in 1999. The building has been designed with special regard to its energy efficiency and to reduce carbón footprint. . From the point of view of its sustainability, the design has operated at several levels. The first is to have the greatest natural lighting with the least thermal gain or loss. The perforations that lead directly outdoors are regulated according to the interior needs and are complemented by the full illumination through inner courtyards with temperatures controlled by natural means. In this sense, and considering the climatic conditions of the site, a porous surface wetted laminarly was placed on the inner side of the concrete walls of the courtyards, where the outside air provides latent heat, cools down, and enters in a controlled way through the windows of the workshops exiting through the opposite wall by an also regulated evacuation plenum. All rainwater is stored in a rooftop cistern from where it descends through the concrete walls of the courtyards, is collected, and accumulates in a transparent tank that serves as the entrance hall roof and is recirculated back to the upper reservoir in a continuous cycle. The concrete walls complement its great thermal inertia with its insulation and inner lining helping to naturally regulate the periods of average temperatures.


The designed image is that of a concrete prism perforated randomly as a porous body in which no scalar relationship can be perceived. This porosity reveals a luminous and transparent interior in which the dynamics of all the building’s activities unfold. This effect is magnified at night by the brightness of its irregular perforations cut out against the dark background of the sky. The technical resolution of the building was conceived based on the unconventional use of resources available in the local market. The technical-economic problems posed by its slenderness and the need to not place intermediate supports in the utilized spaces. Using sliding formwork, and 14 days of continuous concrete pouring, the building’s 41 meter-tall structural façade was completed in just two weeks. Viewed from the workshops, the prefabricated and pre-stressed slabs were mounted on metal brackets fixed to the perimeter partitions. the rest of the building, including its interior store front, was realized through a metallic structure of rolled profiles, assembled on site with bolted joints.