On the site of a former quarry, the project extends the headquarters of Brazil’s premier mathematics institution, National Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics (IMPA). Housing for researchers, a library, and classrooms are set into thin, elevated bars that extend from the edge of the city into the forest canopy. Each pavilion-like structure is functionally indeterminate, anticipating changes in use over time. Generous communal spaces encourage interaction between the researchers. Each volume is broken down into the planes of an array of shading devices that give the building a light, responsive expression.
The project expertly situates the building along the topographic lines of a sensitive site with minimal impact to the surrounding forest. The resulting light architecture integrates shading, ventilation, and photovoltaic panels into a convincing, attractive whole. Through the unique environment created, the jury hopes that the project will encourage the study of mathematics for a future generation of researchers who could live and work there. This aspirational impact, in a country that scores low in mathematical competency, could raise the profile of mathematics in Brazil.