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New Iberê Camargo Foundation headquarters open its doors
The new building of the Iberê Camargo Foundation is sited in a narrow plot, nearby the Guaíba River. The museum is mainly defined by its vertical volume where the exhibition rooms are located, from which are raised suspended, undulating arms in white concrete – somewhat resonant of the iconic concrete reveries of Lina Bo Bardi. This is the first project by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza built in Brazilian territory and was honoured by the Venice Architecture Biennale with the Golden Lion award in 2002.
A large exhibit of work by the painter Iberê Camargo, displayed in the building’s nine art galleries, marks Porto Alegre’s inauguration of the first project by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza in Brazil
The Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza returned to Porto Alegre on the beginning of this year for one of his final visits to his first building designed in Brazil, which will house more than half a century’s output of paintings, drawings, gouaches and prints by Iberê Camargo, who is considered to be one of Brazil’s most important artists of the 20th century.
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The architect was in the state capital to concern himself in the final details of the project, such as the development and production of the building’s furnishings, which he has also designed. The Portuguese architect is meticulous about every detail of the building, believing that harmony is fundamental in a work. “Although each detail is important, the governing feature is the totality. Equilibrium is the underlying quality for architecture,” he says.
The new Iberê Camargo Foundation headquarters opens in the end of may and is intended to preserve the collection of more than four thousand works by the master of Brazilian expressionism and to be a major center for discussion, research and exhibition of modern and contemporary art, placing Porto Alegre and Brazil on the route of the world’s major centers of culture.
In 2002, The project won the biggest international architecture prize – The Golden Lion Award – at the 2003 Venice Architecture Biennial. The maquette toured to the main state capitals in Brazil, together with a touring exhibition of Iberê’s work in 2003 -2004. It has also been to the Milan Triennale at the Museum of Fine Art in Bordeaux, and is included in a touring exhibition of Álvaro Siza’s work which is traveling the world.
Construction budget of the new headquarters for the Iberê Camargo Foundation, whose president is Jorge Gerdau Johannpeter, is 30 million reais. Building started in July 2003 on a 8,250-m2 site facing the Guaíba (Av. Padre Cacique 2,000 donated by the city council and sponsored by Grupo Gerdau, Petrobras, RGE, Vonpar, Itaú, De Lage Landen and Instituto Camargo Correa. RGE, Grupo Gerdau, Petrobras, Camargo Correa, De Lage Landen and Vonpar. Building is following a precise schedule, which concludes with the opening of the headquarters, forecast for November 2007, and a major exhibition of the painter, who is recognized as one of the major Brazilian artists of the 20th century.
The building will put Porto Alegre on the map of important centers of modern and contemporary art in the country. It has nine exhibition rooms, spread across the three upper floors. The main access level will house the reception, café, cloakrooms, cultural shop and a massive atrium which will provide views of the upper floors and will also be used for exhibitions.
The basement area contains all the building infrastructure, including parking for 100 vehicles, a 125-seater auditorium with cinema facilities, Iberê’s print studio and rooms for courses and workshops. It will also contain a reference, research and information center for the huge collection of 4,000 of the artist’s works, with a specialized library, database, video library and reading room, intended for national and international researchers and publishing work.
The basement also contains the utilities area and the technical reserve, used for housing the air-conditioning system and the sewer treatment network. Access to the car park is through an underpass beneath Avenida Padre Cacique, connecting both sides of the road to facilitate visitor entry and exit. All the entrances to the new Iberê Camargo Foundation headquarters also meet the requirements of people with special needs. Ramps and elevators have been designed to offer ease of access from garage level upwards.
Innovative technology and ecological trails
The building for the new Iberê Camargo Foundation headquarters is an international landmark in architecture and engineering solutions. One of the design’s innovative features is its reinforced-concrete construction throughout, without the use of bricks or sealing elements, forming curved outlines like a great sculpture to feature the form and movement of the ramps built on all floors. It is the only building in the country to be built entirely from white concrete, which dispenses with painting and finishing and also brings it a feeling of lightness. All the power and service ducts are inside the walls, insulated with fiberglass, allowing the installation of permanent or temporary dimmable sockets and lighting anywhere in the rooms.
Indoor temperature and humidity are managed by an intelligent monitoring control to ensure protection of the collection. The air-conditioning system will produce ice at night, when electricity costs are lower, for cooling the space during the day, reducing operational costs.
The design devotes special attention to the environment. A sewage treatment station will treat all the solid and liquid waste on site. The treated water from this process will be used for irrigating the surrounding green space. In partnership with the Gaia Foundation, special care is being given to the 16,000-m2 native forest behind the building. A 200-meter path has been defined in the forest to allow visitors to link art with nature.
Álvaro Siza, an international reference
Álvaro Siza is one of the most important contemporary architects in the world, with work in several different countries. His designs include the Museu Serralves in Oporto, and the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, in Santiago de Compostela. The new Iberê Camargo Foundation Headquarters will be his first project in Brazil. Siza was chosen after consultation which considered the innovative nature of the architectural plan and the international standing of its architect.
The architect is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and Honorary Fellow of Royal Institute of British Architects, the Academie d´Architecture de France and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He won the Pritzker Award, from the Hyatt Foundation in Chicago, considered the Nobel of the arts, in 1992, for his oeuvre. Siza has played an active role in the most important architectural works in the world, including the Barcelona Olympiad and Expo 98 in Lisbon. He was part of the team that restored the Chiado, the old part of Lisbon attacked by fire.
More about the project
The project won the biggest international architecture prize – The Golden Lion Award – at the 2003 Venice Architecture Biennial. The maquette toured to the main state capitals in Brazil, together with a touring exhibition of Iberê’s work in 2003 -2004. It has also been to the Milan Triennale at the Museum of Fine Art in Bordeaux, and is included in a touring exhibition of Álvaro Siza’s work which is traveling the world.
30,000 cubic meters of earth were excavated and donated to the Municipal Highway Works Department (SMOV) to be used for paving the city’s poorer settlements.
Excavation was carried out without using explosives. In partnership with the a Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), a splitting plan was found in which the rocks were broken down, allowing them to be removed with pneumatic equipment. This enabled the builder, Camargo Corrêa to complete the predicted 12-month process of earth removal four months early.
There has been considerable concern with the surroundings since the start, and the Iberê Camargo Foundation has therefore proposed to correct the distorted bend in the Avenida Padre Cacique to increase road safety near the site.
Construction is generating 100 direct and 200 indirect jobs.
The project has been visited by more than 3000 architecture and engineering students from the whole country.
The building saves 30% to 40% more energy than conventional buildings.
1995 – Creation of the Iberê Camargo Foundation
1996 – SIte for building the new Foundation headquarters donated by the Rio Grande do Sul government
1998/June – Selection of the architect
2000/May – First site visit by the architect, Álvaro Siza
2001/November – Approval of viability study by Porto Alegre City Council
2002/June – Laying the Foundation Stone
2002/September – Design wins the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Architecture Biennial
2003/July- Building commences
– Sponsorship signed with Camargo Corrêa
2003/December – Sponsorship signed with Petrobras
2004/February – Sponsorship signed with Vonpar
2004/March – Sponsorship signed with RGE
2004/December – Conclusion of Phase 1 – Underground Area
2005/Outubro – Conclusion of Phase 2 – Concrete Structure
2 half of 2007 – Conclusion of Phase 3 and inauguration – Finishing, thermal insulation, electrical, plumbing and complementary installations, decoration and furnishing
1 half of 2008 – Finishing and furnishing
Phase 1 (basement): Infrastructure: car park, auditorium, print studio, rooms for courses and workshops, documentation and research center, utilities area and technical reserve.
Phase 2: nine exhibition rooms, atrium, reception, café, cloakroom, cultural shop
Phase 3 (final): Finishing, thermal insulation electrical, plumbing and complementary installations, decoration and furnishing
Inauguration: End of may 2008
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Category: 2008 Ibere Camargo Foundation