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2016 MCHAP

BCI Bank

Borja Huidobro, Sebastian di Girolamo, Cristian Valdivieso, German Zegers

Santiago, Chile

December 2014


A4 arquitectos


Juan Pablo Alcalde (architect)




Sebastian di Girolamo




PROJECT CONCEPT: SUSPENDED ARCHITECTURE AND ITS REGARD FOR CONTEXT The work is conceived and built as a 40 x 40 x 40 meter glass cube that is suspended six meters above street level. As a result of this suspension, the ground floor is liberated and an inhabitable underground level comes to life. This is an eminently urban vision whose architectural materialization creates a “floating” quality that seeks to unite, visually and topologically, the public gardens in the immediate surroundings: specifically, the gardens on Alcántara Street with those of the British Embassy and the EuroAmérica building. At the same time, this project also establishes a visual link to other architectural landmarks in the vicinity, and so within this overall territorial proposal the work effectively generates a new place. THE PROGRAM One of the institution’s primary requirements was the need for density, flexibility and mobility in the building’s general system of work flow. As such it was necessary to maximize the advantages of the open floor plan that was implemented. This dynamic condition suggested a structure for the building’s exterior, as it did in our previous design and construction of the BCI corporate building in the neighbourhood of El Golf. The large dining room, kitchen and café are situated on the open underground level in an effort to incorporate users as participants and members of a self-sufficient community. STRUCTURE AND TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS The structure is materialized through a load flow, a system of frames in which slabs are supported by post-tensioned concrete braces that transfer load to the upper metal beams, which ultimately guide the load, through compression, to the twelve exterior concrete pillars. The building’s nucleus of elevators and stairways serve to absorb seismic solicitations. The use of water, which is intended to interact with users’ sensory appreciation by offering sound, reflection and movement, also functions as a climatic factor, particularly during the summer months. This work meets the requirements to be classified in the category of high sustainability, and has LEED (USGBC) certification from the United States. MATERIALS Bare materiality is an intrinsic aspect of the structural expression. The exposed concrete of the exterior pillars, the metal beams and the system of the glass curtain wall, are the three essential materials in this building. The pillars that incline toward the north, following the same slope as that of the EuroAmérica building next to it, and the elimination of visible floor levels through the curtain wall design, express the unicity of the suspended cube. Natural light is a constant and full presence inside the building, on all floors, particularly in the area alongside the curtain wall where people circulate. The abundant light that flows in through the rooftop domes is used to full advantage in the meeting rooms and multiple workspaces on the building’s top floor.

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