IQON: a skyscraper in Quito, a product of biophilic design
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IQON: a skyscraper brings nature to a city

The IQON residential tower has been completed. A product of biophilic design, the building stands out on Quito’s skyline with a façade composed of concrete cubes

BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

IQON: a skyscraper in Quito, a product of biophilic design
By Redazione The Plan -

IQON is the name of a tower designed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group in Quito. It’s not only the first project by the Danish studio in South America, but, at 130 m, it’s also the tallest skyscraper in the Ecuadorian capital. Recently completed, the building is predominantly residential, its 32 floors and over 36,000 m2 of floorspace home to 215 residential units, along with shops, offices, and a variety of amenities. The same developer, Uribe Schwartzkopf, is building a second tower, dubbed QORNER and designed by Safdie Architects, by its side, with handover scheduled for next year.

“IQON (by BIG) and QORNER (by Safdie Architects) represent the ongoing transformation of Quito into a cornerstone of architecture, design, and innovation. Not only do the new buildings contribute to the skyline of the city but celebrate our partnerships with the most exciting, internationally renowned architects in the world. As the first residents move in and businesses begin to take space in the building, we are looking forward to seeing each building come to life and become part of the fabric of the city”. –Tommy Schwarzkopf, co-founder, Uribe Schwarzkopf


>>> Discover also CapitaSpring, the biophilic skyscraper in Singapore designed by CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati and BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group


A rotated green façade

IQON - BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group © Pablo Casals Aguirre, courtesy of BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

IQON is built to an L-shaped plan with an almost brutalist façade composed of numerous exposed concrete blocks. Resembling the pixels that make up an image, these projecting elements are rotated around the curved edge of the façade to provide the apartments with terraces and views over the city, La Carolina Park, and the Pichincha volcano. The terraces are extensively planted with natives, with the planters integrated into the structure of the building itself. The result is that the building becomes an extension of the nearby park, while also bringing the temperate climate and high biodiversity that characterize Ecuador to the city.

“We’ve tried to take all the iconic qualities of Quito – such as the enjoyment of living in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in a city on the equator where the seasons are perfect for both human and plant life – and bring that experience into the vertical dimension. IQON is an entire vertical community of individual homes; an extension of La Carolina Park that now climbs all the way up to the rooftop”. – Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group


>>> Urban Sequoia NOW is a concept developed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) based on which a building can contribute to reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere throughout its life


IQON: wellbeing and amenities for residents

IQON - BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group © Pablo Casals Aguirre, courtesy of BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

As well as the lush vegetation, the way the apartments are distributed in the tower also contributes to ensuring the wellbeing of residents. Each one has a double aspect, with terraces on both the north and south sides providing views across the city as well as cross ventilation to every room.

In addition, by virtue of its biophilic design, IQON offers residents numerous amenities, including a gym, a squash court, a spa, a bowling alley, and a rooftop Olympic-sized swimming pool that’s surrounded by panoramic views and places to relax. At street level, which connects the complex to the park and the rest of the neighborhood, the building has generous public spaces and a range of retail outlets. Compared to the raw character of the exterior of the building, the lobby features a more refined material palette with marble finishes, concrete touchpoints that echo the façade, a custom-made wood reception desk, and emerald green ceramic tiles on the ceiling.

IQON is the first mixed-use building in Quito to have preliminary EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification.


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Location: Quito, Ecuador
Completion: 2022
Client: Uribe Schwarzkopf
Size: 55,000 m2
Architect: BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

Structures: Rene Lagos Engineers and Fernando Romo
Wind: CCP Wind Tunnel
Civil: Geo Estudios
Mechanical: Trialmech
Plumbing: Incoayam
Electrical: Consel

Photography by Pablo Casals Aguirre / BICUBIK, courtesy of BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

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