bjarke ingels' IQON tower rises over quito with a pixelated facade of raw concrete

bjarke ingels' IQON tower rises over quito with a pixelated facade of raw concrete

quito’s tallest tower reaches completion


Following four years of construction, Bjarke Ingels Group‘s ‘IQON’ tower reaches completion in Quito, Ecuador to become the team’s first project in South America. The residential building rises 430 feet (130 meters) to become the tallest in the mountainous city, which is already known for its ultra-high elevations as it sits at an altitude of 9,350 feet among the foothills of the Andes.


Quito is defined largely by its dense urban fabric of low-rise buildings, its skyline undergoing recent changes with the relocation of its city-center airport over a decade ago. BIG was commissioned by Uribe Schwarzkopf in 2017 to design a 390,000 square feet mixed-use tower, including 215 residences, commercial units, office spaces, and a variety of amenities. In addition to IQON, BIG and Uribe Schwarzkopf’s nearby EPIQ Residences are slated to finish construction in 2023.

bjarke ingels quito ecuadorimage © BICUBIK



a vertical community by bjarke ingels group


The architects at Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG design IQON as a vertical community, and an extension of the neighboring La Carolina Park, which continues up onto the facade. The building features a notable curved corner, wrapped by terraces that continue around the building’s perimeter with views of the park, city and over the Pichincha volcano.


The team describes the architectural identity of the project by its ‘stripped back’ facade of raw, exposed concrete. This quality functions at once as the building’s structure and its most recognizable feature. Individual ‘pixels’ are stacked thirty-two floors high and rotated to provide the best possible views while simultaneously creating terraces for the apartments. Celebrating native trees and plants, the building integrates greenery wherever possible to take advantage of with Ecuador’s temperate climate and ecology — the country with the most plant species per square meter in the world.

bjarke ingels quito ecuador
image © BICUBIK



We’ve tried to take all the iconic qualities of Quito,’ says Bjarke Ingels, ‘such as the enjoyment of living in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in a city on the equator where the seasons are perfect for both human and plant life — and bring that experience into the vertical dimension. IQON is an entire vertical community of individual homes; an extension of La Carolina Park that now climbs all the way up to the rooftop.’

bjarke ingels quito ecuador
image © BICUBIK



new public spaces at the ground level


The ground floor plaza of Bjarke Ingel’s IQON includes expansive public spaces, retail areas, and public art for the public of Quito, Ecuador. This central plaza serves as a connective armature between the park and the rest of the neighborhood. Upon entering the lobby, the material palette transitions from the raw, pared-back exterior to a more refined aesthetic; marble stone pavers complement the custom millwork reception desk, and concrete touch-points nod to the façade. Deep emerald-green tones are utilized on the ceiling tiles, mailboxes, and through to the elevator lobby, an area located beyond a portal of blackened-steel. bjarke ingels quito ecuador
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre@pablocasalsaguirre_works



biophilia continues into each apartment


The love of nature across Quito continues from its public spaces below into each dwelling within Bjarke Ingels Group’s IQON. This is achieved by way of sculptural planters that are integrated into the architecture of the building. The planters become a unique concrete sculpture inside the apartments, creating space for the root zone of the tree for the apartment terrace above, while transforming the façade of the building into a celebration of Quito’s verdant biodiversity.


What’s more, IQON serves as an urban tree farm: once the vegetation planted on the terraces outgrows its planter, it can be replanted in parks all over the city. In this way, the building becomes part of a green cycle: from park to building, and back to park.

bjarke ingels quito ecuador
terraces integrates planters to ensure greenery in each home | image © Pablo Casals Aguirre


an integrated lap pool and terraces at the top of IQON | image © Pablo Casals Aguirre

bjarke ingels quito ecuador
units open out with terraces on both the north and south sides | image © Pablo Casals Aguirre


IQON marks a new era for the growing city’s low skyline | image © Pablo Casals Aguirre


image © BICUBIK
image © BICUBIK
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre
image © Pablo Casals Aguirre

project info:


project title: IQON

architecture: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) @big_builds

location: Quito, Ecuador

client: Uribe Schwarzkopf@uribeschwarzkopf

photography: © BICUBIK, Pablo Casals Aguirre@pablocasalsaguirre_works


partner in charge: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen
project designer: Lorenz Krisai
project architect: Lucia Sanchez Ramirez, Stephanie Choi
team: Amir Mikhaeil, Andrea Di Pompeo, Angel Barreno Gutiérrez, Benjamin Caldwell, Benjamin Novacinski, Chi Yin Kwok, Chengjie Li, Claire Djang, Clara Sanfeliu, Deborah Campbell, Douglass Alligood, Francesca Portesine, Jason Wu, Jan Leenknegt, Josiah Poland, Juan David Ramirez, Ma Ning, Magdalena Narkiewicz, Margaret Tyrpa, Maria Sole Bravo, Peter Sepassi, Rune Wriedt, Sebastian Grogaard, Sijia Zhou, Stephanie Choi, Stephanie Mauer, Terrence Chew, Tracy Sodder, Ying Yi Cai, Ziad Shehab
collaborators: Rene Lagos Engineers and Fernando Romo (local structural engineers), CCP Wind Tunnel (Wind Consultant), Geo Estudios (Civil Consultant), Trialmech (Mechanical Consultant), Incoayam (Plumbing Consultant), Consel (Electrical Consultant), Estrusa (Consultant).







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