Location: São Paulo, SP – Brasil
Type of Construction: Commercial
Site area: 450 m2
Building area: 430 m2
Project Beginning: 2002
Construction completion: 2003
Authors: Fernando Forte, Lourenço Gimenes, Rodrigo Marcondes Ferraz
Constructor: Sangeo Engineering and Construction Ltd
Foundation and Structural Engineering: Companhia de Projetos
Electrical and Plumbing Installation: Interplanus Engineering
Landscape Designer: Shinzo Okuda
Lighting design: FGMF Arquitetos
Interior design: FGMF Arquitetos
The commissioned programme was a commercial space for a chain of six hair salons in São Paulo. More than just a building in itself, the investors asked for an aesthetic language that would, little by little, become the mark and symbol of the whole network. A 250m² (2690.98ft²) ground floor was destined for the salon in itself, while the first floor was used as rental space with flexible hydraulic installations. The underground floor was conceived as a parking lot that functions independently from the other two establishments.
Another possibility that was to be envisioned was that of a future expansion to the neighbour lot. It was also to be contemplated easy energy saving methods within the specified budget, such as natural illumination, wind energy producing, gas heating and rainwater reuse. These were used, if not completely, within the programme’s range.
The design’s concept axis was that of attending to such points, the natural lighting being the concept’s headline. Both floors’ entrance are bathed in zenithal illumination controlled by shadings, while the side of the suspended body of the building is completely opened to the north (Brazil’s sun direction) with a large curtain wall. So that the sun control was possible, as well as to create a pleasant overall space for the costumers, a long garden was created as a transition from the interior to the exterior; fenced shadings in steel controls the lighting and temperature levels, creating a sheet parallel to the north façade’s glazed faces. The garden, curtain walls and fenced shadings work together as an outside-inside filter, further valuing the designed internal spaces as well, and can also be artificially lighted during the night shifts.
The structure is conceived in thin weathering steel profiles in the form of a discreet truss that makes its presence felt however softly. Located between the curtain wall and the fenced shadings, it also forms a third plane in the garden, which also highlights the structure.
Thanks to the minimal ammount of ground supports made possible by the structure’s steel cable anchoring it was possible to create a more flexible kind of parking lot, which, in turn, allowed for a larger amount of parking spots, which was asked in the programme. The visual lightweight of the volume suspended over the parking lot balances the apparent solidness of the frontal portion of the building, firmly supported by the ground that received a different kind of skin.
A large part of the front façade was designed with a glazed skin and a painted aluminium-shaded porch that highlights the wide access staircase that leads to the upper floor. The front façade’s complete transparency talks to the suspended posterior portion and opposes the enclosed side. With the possibility of the extension, the intention is to integrate the staircase and façade to the future volume in a way that permits the illusion of them being created at the same time.
The structure was thought out in steel from the very conception of the design in order to attend to a couple of necessities: a future expansion to the neighbour lot in a fashion that did not disturb the day-to-day operations as well as a reduced building time.
The structural design was also designed to enable a large amount of free internal space, ideal for the hair salon programme. Also, it conveniently increases the range of possible renters for the upper floor. The narrowest span is supported by steel profiles, which make up the entire structure, supported by the truss aforementioned. This truss also enables the standardization of the profiles, making the design all the more weightless and interesting and, together with the fenced shadings on the northern façade, create one of the designs most definitive situations, being seen both from the inside and outside.
The lateral glazing are found dislocated from the structure, turning it into a clean plane, anchored to the garden that surrounds the building. The steel that composes both the structure and the shadings respond well to the maintenance and aesthetical criteria desired.