Green terraces and skybridges connecting two intertwined trapezoidal towers are some of the design highlights of the proposed office building being developed in Buenos Aires’ business district.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the Catalinas Rio project is located on the waterfront and consists of two glazed towers, one rising 29 floors and the other, 22 levels, both connected to each other by large, multi-storey, trapezoidal floorplates that act as bridges. Together, the towers and skybridges form an ‘urban window’ to the waterfront.

“The city’s financial district is undergoing a period of unprecedented expansion,” said Eduardo F. Costantini, President of Consultatio Real Estate. “The new plots acquired by Consultatio bring about new ways of coexistence and urban connection. Thus, Catalinas Rio was born as a strategic project, a crucial point of contact and passage through areas destined for commercial activities, combined with green spaces and cultural, tourist, governmental, and historical sites. It’s a new icon that will change Buenos Aires’ skyline view from the river.”

Buenos Aires’ new Catalinas Norte II masterplan aims to transform underutilised railyards along the Rio de la Plata to extend the city’s business district towards the waterfront. Catalinas Rio is a significant part of this expansion.

“The result is an unorthodox solution that aims to set a precedent in Buenos Aires office design, with a primary focus on wellness, open space, and creating a new urban identity,” says SOM design partner Gary Haney.

SOM has also proposed a pedestrian bridge that would stretch over the rail lines, highways, and the Rio de la Plata to connect the building to the public river promenade, a ferry terminal in the vicinity, as well as a revitalised mixed-use neighbourhood.

“The building itself is conceived as a vertical campus,” says SOM director Kim Van Holsbeke. “It is a single structure that continues the vibrancy of the urban square up to the office floors.”

Building occupants will enjoy sweeping views of both the waterfront and cityscape thanks to the large, landscaped decks crossing both bridge roofs as well as recessed balconies in the tower floors. The terraces offer 10,000sqm of permeable outdoor space.

The interiors are designed for sustainability and wellness. Key features include high performance glass providing a solar shading filter to reduce heat gain in the building; vertical fins, horizontal shades, and light shelves optimised throughout the day to bring natural daylight deep into the interior; and enhanced fresh air filtration system and access to water fountains throughout the building complementing the daylighting and providing office users with a healthy indoor work environment.

Catalinas Rio is targeting LEED Gold Certification. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.

Image: © SOM | Ekoomedia