ArchitectAndrade Morettin Architects
The new Instituto Moreira Salles building is prominently located along Sao Paulo’s hub for cultural institutions, Avenida Paulista. The museum design draws pedestrians toward the building’s open air lobby, perched 50ft (15m) above grade. From there, visitors can access the double height exhibition halls and a media center combining a library, auditorium, and classrooms. The building’s footprint is only 65 ft x165 ft (20 m x 50 m), and so the functions are stacked, with the institution’s headquarters positioned above the building’s elevated public spaces and street level restaurant. When viewed from the exterior, the flow of visitors throughout the building is visible though the translucent glass facade systems. From the inside, the translucency provides appropriate intimacy while allowing the movements outside to energize the spaces.
Front’s involvement from design development through construction administration focused primarily on the translucent facade. The insulated face glass has a subtle three-dimensional texture that is tuned to distort image perception to a small, specific degree. For the facade framing, the objective was to achieve a filigree expression, minimizing the use of opaque materials. Front developed a system of vertical glass fins, perpendicular to the face glass, that resist not only wind load but also dead load for minimal opacity. The facade is positioned 2 ft (0.6 m) outboard of the steel structure and is supported by thin outriggers. In order to minimize the size of exposed steel beams, the weight of the facade bypasses these beams and is carried to the top of the building by vertical cables. Hidden redundancy features are included for safety in the event of glass or cable breakage. Front also developed details for the doors and insulated metal panels integrated into the glass system.