Sometimes architects try to shut nature out of their building projects, but StudioMAS from South Africa has taken a different approach with this dazzling Circa on Jellicoe art gallery in an upscale suburb of Johannesburg. Not only does nature play a lead role in the design concept, but she is even encouraged to eventually take over. This philosophy is evident throughout the multimedia art gallery - from the bark-colored aluminum fin facade, which also allows the building to breathe, to the planted ivy scrims.
StudioMAS has taken huge strides to reduce the building’s carbon and energy footprint by relying mostly on passive design to keep the building cool and warm. In certain rooms, where passive design was insufficient, they incorporated evaporative coolers and natural gas-powered heating. The water geysers are also heated in this way, and LEDs have been used to ensure energy-efficient lighting. Otherwise, thanks to the extraordinary facade, the building is naturally lit and ventilated.
Outside, the landscaping reflects and caters to the need for an urban gathering space, and rainwater is able to permeate the soil to reduce unnecessary runoff. StudioMAS also created a manmade aquifer that collects water the way that nature intended it, and the pond has been planted with wetland species that naturally purify the water. Although we have featured other StudioMAS projects in the past, this is the first built project we’ve shared, and we absolutely can’t wait to see what else they will pull out of their creative hats in the future!