Jean Nouvel reveals visuals for Aquarela, a high-rise residential complex in Ecuador

French practice Ateliers Jean Nouvel has completed the first phase for stone-clad Aquarela complex in Cumbayá, Quito, with amenities such as an ice-skating rink and a golf course.

by Shreeparna Chatterjee Published on : Jan 30, 2021

Ateliers Jean Nouvel recently revealed the images for Aquarela complex in Quito, Ecuador, which completed its first phase with three towers (Terra, Aqua and Cielo) in December 2020. The subsequent three phases of completion will include six towers and are set to be finished in the years 2021 to 2023. The French practice, founded by Pritzker Prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, has designed this high-rise building for Cumbayá neighbourhood in Quito and is a representative of a new type of development for the city.

  • The plan for Aquarela | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The plan for Aquarela Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L
  • Top view of the Aquarela complex in its surroundings | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    Top view of the Aquarela complex in its surroundings Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L

The high-rise apartment complex will contain 600 units upon completion and is being designed in collaboration with architecture studios Alberto MEDEM and Humboldt Arquitectos for the design, and Uribe Schwarzkopf for the interiors of the first set of towers. The rural parish of Cumbayá is located in the lush green Tumbaco valley, on the side of a volcano. The design has been tailored to respond to its surroundings and the use of natural materials reflect the topography of the space. The stone exteriors intertwine with the native plants and create a beautiful exterior façade for the complex. The Aquarela is meant to appear as a monolith, complementing the contours of the valley that it is nestled in.

  • A zoomed out view of the Aquarela | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    A zoomed out view of the Aquarela Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L
  • The stone covered exterior of the complex | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The stone covered exterior of the complex Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L

With planted balconies decorating the exteriors, Aquarela will have vertical gardens all along the building with trees and other kinds of flora. To echo a sense of the surrounding steep mountains, the interior courtyard that is designed to feel like a mountain pass, and the amenities of the complex, are accessible through this area. The complex will also host an ice rink, bowling alley, mini-golf course, mini-soccer field, outdoor tennis and squash courts, rooftop pools on each tower, spas and saunas, yoga and spinning rooms, beauty salons, and a pet salon.

  • The planted balconies dotted all along the building | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The planted balconies dotted all along the building Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L
  • Vertical gardens and flora studded along the complex | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    Vertical gardens and flora studded along the complex Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L

Keeping sustainability as one of the driving factors in the design, the Aquarela complex demonstrates a commitment to being ecologically conscious. Solar panels that will be mounted on the buildings will be responsible for heating the water used in the complex. The water for the gardens will come from rainwater harvesting and all the waste water from the apartments’ plumbing systems will be filtered and re-circulated. Also, as the trees would be cut during the construction process, for every felled tree, 10 more will be planted to make up for the loss.

  • The courtyard separating the towers | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The courtyard separating the towers Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L
  • On-site residents' amenities will include an ice rink, bowling alley, mini-golf course, sports courts, and more | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    On-site residents' amenities will include an ice rink, bowling alley, mini-golf course, sports courts, and more Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L

The interiors have been characterised by large glass windows and wooden shutters, following the complex’s design sensibility. Lighting and other fixtures have been sourced from brands such as Flos, Vivia, Marcet, and Faro Barcelona. The furniture has been sourced from brands like Pedrali, Dedon, and Konkretus. Along with these names, a nod to local culture and history can be seen in things like a front desk, which has been made of salvaged wood from a lightning storm and game room furniture constructed by a legendary local billiard champion.

Sustainable practices have been employed throughout the building’s design | Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
Sustainable practices have been employed throughout the building’s design by Ateliers Jean Nouvel Image: Courtesy of Architect: Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Associated Architect: Alberto MEDEM - Humboldt Arquitectos S.L

Project Details

Name: Aquarela
Location: Cumbayá, Quito, Ecuador
Architects: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Associate architects: Alberto MEDEM – Humboldt Arquitectos S.L
Interiors: Uribe Schwarzkopf
Architect of record: ​ U​ribe Schwarzkopf
Size: Habitable area 75,000 m²

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