Bicentennial Civic Center by Lucio Morini & GGMPU Arquitectos

A spread of rhomboid-shaped apertures puncture the concrete jagged form.

BUENOS AIRES – About 700 km northwest of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, a jagged civic center with rhomboid-shaped apertures reconnects the River Suquía and adds a dash of new to the old city of Córdoba.

Known primarily for holding the oldest University in Argentina and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the new administrative complex comprises two buildings that aim to encourage civic activity. Architects Lucio Morini & GGMPU Arquitectos took the existing site, which was previously occupied by railway tracks, and inserted a rather peculiar shaped form. Two buildings – one marked by its vertical faceted form and the other by its horizontal linearity – construct the public space.

The first building houses the ministries and takes the figure of a faceted prism. Made from concrete, it is intersected by a pattern of rhomboid openings. Based on a square cuboid, the architects rotated the shape to generate ‘a more complex morphology based on triangles, which in turn produces a very particular play of shadows and light.’ Continuing to state how ‘tri-dimensionality’ was an important part of the façade, the architects set the main building into a pool of water showing interesting reflective qualities of the exterior.

The second building follows a more rational form and has a more horizontal profile. Housing administrative functions, social areas, parking and the governor’s house (which sits independently on the main concrete plinth with mirror cladding), the building continues the rhomboid theme on the exterior but inserts a more green exterior. Enclosed by metal mesh, vines are encouraged to climb the structure freely, allowing sunshine to filter through the space during winter and providing protection during the hot summers.

This project is ongoing – the secondary building and a new convention centre are yet to be completed on site. The architects have designed the convention centre to exist partially underground to utilize the hillside topography surrounding the site.

Photos courtesy of Claudio Manzoni and GGMPU + Lucio Morini

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