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SOM Releases Designs for Catalinas Rio

Today, Consultatio Real Estate and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) released the renderings for Catalinas Rio, a waterfront office building designed to become the center of activity in Buenos Aires’ Catalinas Norte business district expansion. With retail, public greenspace, and two intertwined trapezoidal towers joined by skybridges and green terraces, the project will create a new, vibrant identity for the district and the city skyline.

“The city’s financial district is undergoing a period of unprecedented expansion,” said Eduardo F. Costantini, President of Consultatio Real Estate. “The new plots acquired by Consultatio bring about new ways of coexistence and urban connection. Thus, Catalinas Rio was born as a strategic project, a crucial point of contact and passage through areas destined for commercial activities, combined with green spaces and cultural, tourist, governmental, and historical sites. It’s a new icon that will change Buenos Aires’ skyline view from the river.”

Catalinas Rio occupies a significant portion of Buenos Aires’ new Catalinas Norte II master plan, a major public endeavor to transform underutilized railyards along the Rio de la Plata to extend the city’s business district. By building over former railways and moving highways below grade, the development will bring the city closer to the waterfront and establish a new destination. Catalinas Rio is designed to enhance this new public realm. The project will be located on Catalinas Norte II’s largest site—three of the district expansion’s seven lots, positioned in one horizontal row along the waterfront.

“The result,” said SOM Design Partner Gary Haney, “is an unorthodox solution that aims to set a precedent in Buenos Aires office design, with a primary focus on wellness, open space, and creating a new urban identity.”

This new urban identity begins with Catalinas Rio’s public space—an outdoor urban square that draws inspiration from the open spaces that characterize Buenos Aires’ historic fabric. As the public heart of the project, the square connects to the street, waterfront, and every part of the building. It is nestled between the building’s two tower forms and lobbies, where indoor retail and shared amenities on both sides are designed to form a lively cluster of activity. With the Retiro railway and bus station in walking distance and several existing public parks in close proximity, the square will be easily accessible to public transportation and nearby amenities. SOM’s vision for the site also includes a proposed pedestrian bridge that would stretch over the rail lines, highways, and the Rio de la Plata to connect the building to the public river promenade, a nearby ferry terminal, and Puerto Madero, a revitalized mixed-use neighborhood across Catalinas Norte II.

“The building itself is conceived as a vertical campus,” said SOM Director Kim Van Holsbeke. “It is a single structure that continues the vibrancy of the urban square up to the office floors.”

The project’s two towers, one that rises 29 floors and another that spans 22 levels, are connected by large, multi-story, trapezoidal floorplates that act as bridges and one of the building’s essential wellness features. Together, the towers and bridge floors form an urban window and establish the active heart of the office experience. Large, landscaped decks cross both bridge roofs, and are complemented by recessed balconies in the tower floors to provide sweeping views of both the waterfront and cityscape. The terrace configuration is strategically designed to provide outdoor space through all seasons and weather conditions—with the roof decks drawing sunlight on clear days and the tower balconies providing shade in the heat and rain. In total, the terraces offer 10,000 square meters of permeable outdoor space.

Inside, sustainability and wellness culminate to create an enhanced interior workplace. A high performance glass building will provide a solar shading filter to reduce heat gain. Vertical fins, horizontal shades, and light shelves will be optimized throughout the day to bring natural daylight deep into the interior. An enhanced fresh air filtration system and access to water fountains throughout the building will complement the daylighting and provide office users with a healthy indoor work environment. The building is targeting LEED® Gold Certification and construction is anticipated to be completed in 2022.


About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is an influential collective of architects, designers, engineers and planners, responsible for some of the world’s most technically and environmentally advanced buildings, and significant public spaces. From a strategic regional plan to a single piece of furniture, SOM’s designs anticipate change in the way we live, work and communicate, and have brought lasting value to communities around the world. The firm’s approach is highly collaborative, and its interdisciplinary team is engaged on a wide range of international projects, with creative studios based across the globe.