bjarke ingels group's first project in south america has been conceived as an 'urban tree farm'

bjarke ingels group's first project in south america has been conceived as an 'urban tree farm'

bjarke ingels group (BIG) has revealed plans for a residential tower to be built in ecuador. the project, which is BIG’s first in south america, is titled ‘IQON’ and is currently under construction in the city of quito. situated between the urban center and la carolina park, the concrete structure will climb to a total of 33-stories, offering sweeping views that take in the nearby volcanoes.

BIG iqon quito
all images courtesy of BIG | bjarke ingels group



BIG’s design for the tower, which will become the city’s tallest building, comprises stacked concrete boxes. each of these modules has been rotated to provide views and space for outdoor terraces. each floor features apartments that have terraces on both the north and south façades, a gesture which not only allows for generous views, but also ensures cross ventilation and a general sense of openness.

BIG iqon quito
IQON will become the city’s tallest building



the building has been conceived as an ‘urban tree farm’, with each terrace featuring a different species. ‘we are letting la carolina park climb up and into the building by planting native trees and plants on the terraces: the closer to the park, the taller the trees,’ explains the design team. ‘a hollow wall underneath each balcony has enough space to hold the roots of each tree. the planters become a concrete sculpture inside the apartments, which is the root zone of the tree for the apartment above.’

BIG iqon quito
the stacked concrete boxes have been rotated to provide views and space



once the trees outgrow their planters (after about five years), they can be replanted in the city’s parks. ‘in this way the building becomes part of a green cycle — from park to building back to park,’ BIG continues. ‘the building aims compress the unique experience of quito into a single building to create a vertical community: la carolina park climbing all the way up to the penthouse.’

BIG iqon quito
the building has been conceived as an ‘urban tree farm’



at roof level, terraces with an integrated lap pool offer residents another place to relax overlooking the city. meanwhile, at the base of the tower, a cascading series of stepping terraces creates an open public plaza activated by retail spaces that will allow people to rest in the shade or access the building lobbies.

BIG iqon quito
residences offer sweeping views across the city

BIG iqon quito
at roof level, terraces with an integrated lap pool offer residents another place to relax

BIG iqon quito
the tower’s reception and lobby

BIG iqon quito
at ground level, an open public plaza is activated by retail spaces

BIG iqon quito
the entire façade becomes a vertical display of quito’s biodiversity

BIG iqon quito
the project is under construction in the ecuadorian capital



project info:


name: IQON
program: housing
status: under construction
size: 35,000 sqm / 376,737 sqf
type: commission
client: uribe & schwarzkopf
collaborators: uribe & schwarzkopf, rene lagos, geo estudios, fernando romo, reg hough, cpp wind tunnel
location: avenida de los shyris, quito, ecuador


project team
partners-in-charge: bjarke ingels, thomas christoffersen
project leader: maria sole bravo
project designer: lorenz krisai
project architect: stephanie choi
team: andrea di pompeo, benjamin novacinski, chengjie li, claire djang, deborah campbell, douglass alligood, francesca portesine, jan leenknegt, jason wu, josiah poland, juan david ramirez, lucia sanchez ramirez, ma ning, magdalena narkiewicz, margaret tyrpa, megan ng, peter sepassi, rune hansen, rune wriedt, sebastian grogaard, sijia zhou, stephanie mauer, stephen kwok, terrence chew, tracy sodder

  • I am not an apartment dweller but I like the looks. I only wonder how well the trees fare being chucked off the balcony after five years — they’re not going in the elevator.


    JimCan says:
  • Looks like a cheese grater

    AdamB says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
491,185 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample