Firjan House of Creative Industry 

The French eclectic-style residential mansion, dating from 1906, which belonged to the noble Lineu de Paula Machado family, was acquired by the Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro and completely restored and adapted to house the Firjan House of Creative Industry. 

Located in a noble and busy area of Rio de Janeiro’s south zone, the Lineu de Paula Machado Palace and its gardens have been given a contemporary annex and transformed into an education and culture centre, with a garden open to the public, bringing the beautiful example back to life in the city. 

The annex building, whose design was the subject of an architectural competition, posed the challenge of designing a modern building that could meet the needs of the vast programme of Firjan’s creative and technological industry centre and, at the same time, integrate into the environment of the building protected by cultural heritage legislation and provide a public space for the local population. 

The winning project, awarded Best New Building in the annual competition organised by the Institute of Architects of Brazil (IAB-RJ), signed by Lompreta Nolte Arquitetos in partnership with Atelier 77, creates a space that links its sectors, highlights activities, opens up to public flows and areas and connects its interior to the exterior, creating visibility, interaction and learning.  

During the construction of the new building, the large trees were preserved by creating an interior square between Casa Firjan and the Palacete, which creates a meeting space and allows the two eras of construction to be read.  The geometry of the building consists of two blocks on a single foundation, connected on the top floor. The different sections of the building communicate via a pathway that is largely located on the façade, in an outdoor environment. The void created between the blocks is part of this pathway and forms an elevated square for free student activities. 

Another highlight of the project is the materials chosen for the building’s construction. The façades, marked by their transparency, are made up of large glass panels interspersed with grey Viroc panels, giving them an inviting, open appearance. The interior façades, facing the Casa Firjan square and the Palacete, also have large glass panels, as well as a second “skin” made up of movable wooden verticals, which protect the internal spaces from direct sunlight while allowing visibility of internal activities.  

The versatility, resistance and durability of Viroc, combined with the modern and rustic look of the concrete, mean that the panel fits in exemplarily with the requirements of the project, which stands out for its functional design and sustainable attitudes. The exposed Viroc panel was also used inside, on walls and floors, and in some areas of the building it was machined and perforated to fulfil the function of an acoustic panel.  

In the building, we can also find the grey Viroc panel as a fencing wall that surrounds the land next to the building. The panels that make up the wall were machined and customised, giving the project exclusivity.

In addition to the natural lighting of the glazed façades and the shading of the brises, its plumbing system reuses rainwater and grey water, and solar energy is captured to reduce electricity consumption. Natural ventilation and economical air conditioning systems complete the architectural complex’s energy efficiency. The project was also awarded second place in the Saint-Gobain Architecture Prize – Sustainable Habitat in the ‘Institutional Project’ category. 

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