The Icon 20/20 Architects: Triptyque 01.05.09

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Triptyque harmonia Nelson-Kon

Harmonia 57, São Paulo, 2008

As Brazilians begin to tire of endless white modernist architecture, young offices are able to shrug off the ideological legacies of Niemeyer and Bo Bardi. "After 50 years people have a different attitude now," says Carolina Bueno, partner of Brazilian-French practice Triptyque. "Perhaps they are feeling a bit more brave about change."

The office opened in São Paulo 2000, but it was after winning the prestigious French young architects award (NAJA) in 2008 that they were able to open their small atelier in Paris, the city where all four partners studied together.

It was Triptyque's miniature Pompidou centre, the Harmonia 57 office building in São Paulo last year that clinched their status as innovators. The so-called "living" building has an external skin that lives and breathes. Its thick porous concrete walls are punctured by spores and covered in wild vegetation. Dozens of thin white pipes clean, recycle and pump water through the building as the spores periodically pump out a layer of mist to irrigate the plants. It looks extraordinary but, with its pilotis and timber decking, is as much chic South American brutalism as eco-architecture. But then, Triptyque designs and innovates with style and wit, managing to reflect the times without indulging in preachy manifestos.

Tryptique partners-bw



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