Safdie Architects has completed a new green medical school and research building in São Paulo with a distinctive domed glass roof.
The Albert Einstein Education and Research Center (AEERC), conceived as an urban oasis, is the latest initiative of the Brazilian health care institution Sociedade Beneficente Israelita Albert Einstein. It is intended to become one of Latin America’s most advanced institutions for medical research and study.
The center is located in the Morumbi neighborhood of São Paulo, next to the Israelita Albert Einstein Hospital. The AEERC is the first medical school established by a private hospital in Brazil. Safdie Architects also worked with Perkins&Will, who oversaw the programming and interior planning of the classrooms and labs.
Integrating nature into the facility’s spaces is at the heart of the project’s design. The centerpiece of the building is a spacious garden atrium, which offers opportunities for spontaneous interaction, collaboration, discovery and tranquility. Stepped terraces connect to the four main activity levels: a restaurant on the first floor, an amphitheater and auditorium on the mid-levels and an exhibition and event space on the fourth floor. The atrium features native trees and plants and is paved with local stone. It was designed in collaboration with São Paulo-based Isabel Duprat Landscape Architecture.
The atrium’s vaulted glass roof structure features an innovative shading and daylighting system that creates a visual effect that evokes the experience of being under a leafy tree. Safdie Architects worked with specialist German subcontractor Seele and his local partners to design the multi-layer skylight system. The roof functions to simultaneously provide ample daylight for the plants to thrive, regulate heat gain and glare for human comfort, and provide shade by filtering out harsh sunlight. With its custom frit pattern and solar control coating, the roof design played an important role in achieving the building’s LEED Gold status.
The center is divided into two connected wings, east and west. The east wing contains the main teaching spaces, including teaching spaces for nursing, medicine, graduate programs, medical residency, and engineering courses. The west wing houses medical research facilities, including laboratories, cleanrooms and clinical research resources. Walkways span the wings and are joined by a series of intimate meeting and study areas on each level of the building.
The building is nestled into the sloping hillside. Full height glass walls, planted terraces and shaded overhangs create a strong balance of light and shade over the exterior of the center. The slatted facade softens the scale of the building and provides optimal light and shade in the interior spaces. A pedestrian bridge connects downtown with Einstein’s main hospital.
“Although the exterior is discreetly scaled, the spacious multi-level garden in the heart of the center feels like an unexpected discovery: light, inviting and inspiring,” says Sean Scensor, the project partner in charge for Safdie Architects. “The environment we have created embodies the excitement of learning and research.”
The AEERC is scheduled to be inaugurated in August 2022.