Softstone is an office building located in a developing metropolitan area. Increasing the urban density of the city centre, most of the residential units are turning into offices or commercials. These rapid changes create a mixture of activities and building typologies that put into question the proximities of non-residential units next to single houses or apartments. Within this context, Softstone, introduce an alternative and custom architectural solution for a mid-rise office project.
Softstone is located among the low-rise building blocks of Tehran city centre. Rotating towards North-West, the building plot provides opportunities of receiving more daylight access during the working hours. As a result of this orientation and the heights of neighbours, the mountain chains of Tehran appears on the northern horizon of the interior vistas.
In multiple scales, the interior spaces and exterior body of Softstone are defined with two sets of
intertwined dark and bright-coloured layers with different yet completing material behaviours.
While the dark layer stays neutral, the bright layer dynamically moves and morphs in multiple directions in order to respond to the internal and external forces.
Considering the constraints and the objectives of the project, some of the main design strategies are:
Blurring the threshold of the building envelope to orient the views up toward the sky and the mountain chains of the city in balconies or iwans, and down toward the street behind the panoramic windows of the multi-purpose working spaces;
Activating the back side of the project by connecting it to the rooftop on one side, and dissolving it softly to an animated carpet-like landscape that embraces the only existing tree and integrates new plants;
— Designing the given building block as a volume rather than separated two-dimensional front and back facades. This is done through three-dimensional integration of the two east and west surfaces with the front and the back as well as the roof and the yard; As a result, the white stone volume of the upper floors works as a whole in an urban context scale, while the other parts like the entrance and the landscape adapts to human scale.
This monolithic volume is constructed of pre-crafted local stone blocks of varying sizes that are supported with pre-fabricated bent metal plates, which are then dry-assembled on-site. Soft transitions from the small to the large components create curved surfaces out of the hard stone. The focal points of these gradients are defining the entrances and the openings; shaping the building skin, adjusting the skyline and connecting the backyard landscape to the staircase all the way to the rooftop of the project.
A further strategy in construction is to control the tolerances by implementing a file to manufacturing method. During the construction process, minor dimensional differences are compensated by the higher accuracy of the bent metal elements as exposed structural supports. The amount of material leftovers in two types of the used local stones is minimized through introducing adaptable ranges of dimensions from extra-small, 60mm, to extra-large, 1430 mm, elements.
Design: studio SETUParchitecture
SOFTSTONE, Office Building
Design date: 2014-17
Construction date: 2015-18
Design: studio SETUParchitecture
Architect in charge: Sina Mostafavi
Construction manager: Alireza Salami
Client and owner: Majid Ghavifekr
Design team: Sina Mostafavi, Banafsheh Darvish, Ken Chen, Hamid Khaki, Mohsen Nouri, Ashkan Rezaee, Guo Xi, Niusha Zaribaf,
Architectural representation team: Adib Khaeez, Faezeh Sadeghi, Masoud Barikany
Main contractors: Mehdi Yamininejad, Mehdi Bayat _Mokaab Group
Construction superintendent: Amin Firouzpour
Construction supervision: Amin Firouzpour , Nasir Damavandi, Alireza Salami, Sina Mostafavi
Stonework contractor: Borhan Nouri
Structural design: Amin Nekooyian
Electrical consultant: Kamran Naraghipour
Mechanical consultant: Bahram Eksiri
Electrical work contractor: Mehdi Janbakhshi
Mechanical work contractor: Mojtaba Moayeri
Wood work contractor: Ali Ghorbani, Mohsen Soleimani
Elevator consultant : Technoterm Co.
Doors and windows: Alumin Co.
Glass and handrails: Venus Glass Co.
Photographs: Parham Taghioff, Bamdad Nourian
Videography Studio Payen-e-Khosh