Fundamental Approach Architects has transformed the facade of an eight-storey housing block in Tehran using angular screens of perforated brick.
Iranian practice Fundamental Approach Architects, led by Moshen Kazemianfard, reconfigured the interior of the Saadat Abad Residential Building and designed a facade intended to relate better to its urban context. The client requested interior spaces with an open view, which played a crucial role in the designing of the facade, while there had to be a strong connection between the interior and exterior spaces.
With two storeys sitting below ground level, the building combines apartments with commercial units at its base and underground parking. In addition, a new double skin of glass and brick panels was added to balance views, light and a connection to the outdoors with the privacy required in the apartments.
Expanded border, reproduction of space
In these types of projects, the definition of borders not only shapes the exterior look of the building but also defines the relationship between the interior and exterior spaces. In the recent century, several megacities have expanded incorrectly by limiting the buildings’ urban boundaries, which have eliminated the integration of interior and exterior spaces.
In most of the apartment blocks the connection of the indoor and outdoor areas is limited to small openings on solid skins of the buildings, which has changed the border of the building from a soft space to a simple division. Its primary duty is to draw light into the space and protect the interior from the exterior. The idea of changing the border from a solid definite wall to a soft and fluid space is a crucial aspect in this project.
A practical brick skin
In winter the porous brick skin draws light into the interior space, creating an effect of light and shadow, not only to brighten the space but also to create a warmer feeling. On the other hand, in order to save energy in the summer, the thickness of the brick wall prevents the sunbeam from entering and only permits enough light to brighten the interior space.
With the main circulation core at the rear of the block, living spaces have been pushed to the front to maximise views out to the building’s surroundings.
The brick panels on the facade have been twisted outwards to angle views from the living spaces out towards a nearby crossing, also serving to animate the facade and create a gap to provide natural ventilation.
“In most existing apartment blocks the connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces is limited to small openings in a solid skin. In this case, the facade is only a protective separator that lets the light in,” added Kazemianfard.
Small strips of planting sit in the gap between the glazing and the brick skin, with greenery climbing up the living-room balustrades. Internally, textured brick walls reference the external panels, and stone flooring acts as a continuation of the pavement outside to help merge the urban with the interior.
A wide set of steps provides access up to the commercial unit as well as a separate entrance corridor to the apartments, which sit slightly above ground level. An adjacent set of stairs provides access down to the basement level.
Perforated brick walls and panels are a popular method of building, particularly in areas where a large amount of natural ventilation is crucial.
The end-result is a beautiful aesthetic that truly makes its mark. It not only looks physically appealing with its unique design and clever usage of bricks, but also serves an array of functional attributes that best serve the inhabitants of this innovative space.
Architects: Fundamental Approach Architects
Lead architect: Moshen Kazemianfard
Project manager: Parima Jahangard
Client: Mr Bastami
Project construction supervisor: Mohammadreza Bastami, Abbas Atayi, Amirhossein Maleki
Facade construction supervisor: Amirhossein Maleki, Parham Teimuri
|The brick panels on the facade have been twisted outwards to angle views from the living spaces out towards a nearby crossing, also serving to animate the facade and create a gap to provide natural ventilation.|