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IQON Residences
Architects: BIG
Year: 2022
Area: 55 000 m2
Location: Av. de los Shyris, Quito 170102, Ecuador

IQON is BIG’s first project in South America and is Quito’s tallest building. The location, right at the edge of city and park, offers striking views of the surroundings, volcanoes and nature beyond. Quito is the capital of Ecuador and one of the highest elevation cities in the world (2,820m). Its location on the equator provides unique climatic conditions: comfortable temperatures year-round, a lot of rain and a consistent sunrise and sunset time. Ecuador is also the country with the most plant species per square meter in the world.

The building is made up of concrete boxes that are stacked 33 floors tall. Each box is rotated to provide the best possible views and create outdoor terraces for each apartment. At the base of the building, a cascading series of stepping terraces creates an open public plaza activated by retail spaces that will allow people to rest in the shade or access the building lobbies.

At the roof level, stepping terraces with an integrated lap pool offer residents a place to relax overlooking the city. Each floor features through-units – apartments that have terraces on both the north and south facades – which not only allows for views across the entire city, but also offers the opportunity for cross ventilation and a sense of openness.

We are letting La Carolina Park climb up and into the building by planting native trees and plants on the terraces: the closer to the park, the taller the trees. Each terrace will have a different species of tree. A hollow wall underneath each balcony has enough space to hold the roots of each tree. The planters become a concrete sculpture inside the apartments, which is the root zone of the tree for the apartment above. The entire façade of the project becomes a vertical display of the biodiversity of Quito.

The building acts like an urban tree farm: once the vegetation planted on the terraces of the building outgrows their planters (after approximately 5 years), they can be replanted in parks all over the city. In this way the building becomes part of a green cycle – from park to building back to park. The building aims to compress the unique experience of Quito into a single building to create a vertical community: La Carolina Park climbing all the way up to the penthouse.

Photos by Pablo Casals Aguirre