Axel Paredes and Ana Aleman
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Axel Paredes Ana Aleman
Hector Monzon / Sismoconsult (Structural Engineer)
The brief asked for a canopy that can be used by visitors and office employees as part of the landscape that surrounds the complex. Because of the sensibility of the tropical landscape underneath the canopy, it had to be cantilevered from the adjacent building. The brief also specified the need for privacy of view from the towers across the street while also providing shade to the offices at certain times of the day. In this context the canopy had to provide shade and privacy while also allowing sun light, wind, and rain water through it for the plants underneath. The use of columns had to be avoided completely in order not to build directly on the soil while also avoiding the cutting of any branches from the surrounding trees.
The canopy itself covers an area of about 70,000 square feet of tropical plants. The site is located in the commercial and business district of Guatemala City called Zone 10. The landscape where the canopy is built is located within an office complex where most of the offices face towards the surrounding nature. The canopy sits on top of tropical vegetation next to these offices, while on the north it is bordered by a public street. Although access is restricted directly from the street, the site is surrounded by office and apartment buildings. Structurally the canopy is cantilevered from the offices next to it in order to avoid the placing of columns on the landscape.
In order to allow privacy from by blocking the view to the offices from the adjacent towers it was decided to design a sectioned structure in the X and Y direction in order to block view from different angles. The open structural crate allows rain water to go through and also provides direct and indirect sun light to the plants underneath at different times of the day. The structural crate surface of the canopy also responds to the geometry of the sit, both in plan and section as its upper and lower synclastic curvatures avoid the tree branches. The open crate also allows for the more vertical branches of the tree to go through the structure in order to avoid touching any branches or destroying the surrounding nature. In order to avoid the use of columns that could affect the nature underneath the canopy cantilevers almost 30 feet from the building. A series of trusses run from the building above the canopy in order to provide structural support as the canopy is hung from the the structural bracing. The main trusses are blocked from view while the open crate acts as a stable structure in itself.