Medical center's impressive glass roof spans lush green oasis
Commissioned to design a cutting-edge medical center in São Paulo, Brazil, high-profile firm Safdie Architects has arranged the facility around a large atrium that's filled with greenery. The building's overall form is defined by generous glazing, and is topped by an impressive domed glass roof that creates pleasant dappled light below.
The Albert Einstein Education and Research Center (AEERC) is part of a larger hospital complex and measures 12,000 sq m (roughly 129,000 sq ft).
The central atrium was designed in collaboration with landscape architect Isabel Duprat and is planted with over 150 different species of plants and trees, which were carefully selected to ensure their suitability for the site. The green space serves as a pleasant place for researchers to unwind and features an amphitheater and exhibition space arranged around a fountain, as well as multiple seating areas. This is all topped by that glass domed roof, which measures a considerable 3,800 sq m (roughly 41,000 sq ft).
"The outer skylight is made up of 1,854 ultra-transparent glass panels, coated with triple-silver solar protection to reduce heat gain, and printed with a pattern of translucent ceramic dots to shade sunlight," explained the firm. "The glass has minimal reflectivity to avoid disturbing exterior reflections. The inner layer of the roof is a transparent membrane, micro-perforated to absorb noise and printed with a custom pattern of translucent dots that provide shading, but also glow in the sunlight.
"The increasing density of dots towards the East and West ends shades low-angle sun, while the center dome is entirely clear, allowing full sunlight to reach the denser planting in the center garden. As seen from below, the overlapping layers of dots, is like seeing dappled sunlight through the overlapping leaves of a tree, evoking the feeling of being under a tree canopy."
Two wings are positioned either side of the atrium. The east wing contains the main teaching spaces for nursing, medicine, graduate programs, medical residency, and technical courses. The west wing hosts medical research facilities, including laboratories. Elsewhere are a library, restaurant and a 400-seat auditorium.
AEERC has received the LEED Gold green building standard for its energy efficient design. In addition to its glazed roof, the building is fronted by a glazed facade that's shaded by overhangs, screens and louvers, which were designed using computer sun studies and tested with physical models to ensure optimal shading. These are complemented by solar shades and blackout shades for daylight control inside.
Its ventilation system minimizes energy use, and the interior decor makes use of recycled and local materials like wood, rubber and locally sourced furniture. The building features several green roof sections, and 180 trees were also planted outside to help reduce stormwater runoff.
AEERC was completed in the last few weeks and is due to be inaugurated in August.
Source: Safdie Architects