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 roughly 150 different plant and tree species that make up the central atrium were carefully chosen to ensure their compatibility for the location and were included in the atrium’s design, which was created in partnership with landscape architect Isabel Duprat. Researchers can relax in the green space, which has an amphitheatre, an exhibition area built around a fountain, as well as other seating places. This is all capped up by the huge 3,800 square metre glass dome roof (roughly 41,000 sq ft).
“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.”
The atrium is flanked by two wings. The primary classrooms for nursing, medicine, graduate programmes, medical residencies, and technical courses are located in the east wing. Medical research facilities, including labs, are located on the west wing. A 400-seat auditorium, a café, and other facilities are also available.
Due to its energy-efficient design, AEERC has achieved the LEED Gold green building certification. The building has a glazed facade as well as a glazed roof. In order to ensure the best possible shading, overhangs, screens, and louvres were designed using computer sun studies and tested with physical models. For indoor light control, these are supplemented by solar and blackout shades.
Its ventilation system uses the least amount of energy possible, and the interior decor uses recycled and regional materials including wood, rubber, and furniture made in the area. In order to lessen stormwater runoff, 180 trees were planted outside in addition to the building’s numerous green roof portions.