Common Garden is a residential building inspired by the architecture of the classical courtyards and cloisters of downtown Quito, the first cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower is reminiscent of the convent gardens scattered and hidden throughout the oldtown centre. This modern interpretation exteriorizes the typical introverted language of the cloister/courtyard, resulting in an exposed façade of arcades and gardens that span 12 stories. This is meant to evoke emotions of the past and reconnect the modern dweller to the harmonious urban configurations of old town Quito. This romantic conception frames the city views much more differently than the typical apartment residence. The arches function not only as the main structure of the tower, but adjoin and widen, creating pockets of vegetation at each intersection.
Quito, Ecuador is a city located directly on the equator, where the sun is positioned almost 90 degrees and where seasons do not exists. For this reason, architecture, particularly of high-rise buildings have the massive potential of becoming vertical ecosystems that take advantage of the equatorial sun.
Common Garden utilizes this equatorial context to become a repository of plant and animal life in the city. With the ability to thrive all year round, incorporating a self-sustaining ecosystem into the built environment is our contribution back to nature. According to the U.N. biodiversity report, 1 million species are now facing extinction because of our negligent human actions. Natural ecosystems are crumbling at an accelerated rate because of us, therefore it is our duty to design a healthier future, and reconsider how we perceive and interact with our environments– challenging how we operate within our built world, and aiming to connect human beings with other living systems. This design allows the dweller to have a constant and direct connection with nature. Every apartment is surrounded by its own private gardens in the midst of a dense urban setting. This creates a unique user experience, and changes the typical urban backdrop by adding not only layers of nature, but also history, a sense of ancestrality, reflection, and peace within a highly chaotic urban reality.