August 27 2013

Argentina’s Adoption of America’s LEED Certified Buildings Program

The Madero Office Center, built by famous Argentinian developer RAGHSA, is the first building in Argentina pre-certified as a LEED Silver Green Building.

At almost 63,000 square meters, the Madero Center has twenty-six office floors, along with one floor dedicated entirely to technological support for the building. The project was designed by Mario Roberto Álvarez & Asociados architecture studio, a company considered to have one of the most prolific collections of modernist architecture in Argentina, and even in all of Latin America.

Construction of the Madero Office

Construction for the Madero Center started in October 2007, extending for three years in order to comply with the needs of the main contributor to the building, Standard Bank of Argentina (now the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), who had already sublet half of the offices of the building to other enterprises.

The office floors were leased at an average price of US $34 per square meter, a regular market value for premium buildings in the city of Buenos Aires. This indicates that the LEED pre-certification doesn’t (and, some would argue, shouldn’t) change the market value of a building. Rather, this qualification should act as a competitive factor when promoting the building.

Madero Office Center on a summer day

Basically, “green” doesn’t have to mean expensive.

Some of the characteristics that make the Madero office building really different, at least in the contemporary Argentine context, include the promotion for the rational use of water, energy, and natural resources, along with bioclimatic considerations for the interiors.

However good the intentions of an architect are though, in reality they mean nothing without consideration for sustainability. And for many years these facts were ignored by Argentine architects. In comparison to their Latin American counterparts, architects of the country struggled with “Green Building” design. Now, however, Argentina has its own green building council, modelled on their American counterparts.

Urban context of the Madero office

The Madero Center is the first of many examples to come. However, we should ask ourselves if this model of green certification is applicable to buildings of all kinds in Argentina. Additionally, how are architects and developers going to offer innovation in green architecture while keeping it affordable?

Should we not start to create rules for what a green Argentine building should be? Are certifications from abroad applicable when the Argentine context is so completely different?

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Luis Lozano-Paredes

Luis Lozano-Paredes is currently a student seeking a Diploma of Architecture and Urban Planning at Belgrano University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Born in Colombia in 1987, he grew between the cities of Bogotá and Santiago de Cali, and then moved to Argentina in 2006. There, he finished the Common Basic Cycle of Architecture, Design, and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires before pursuing studies in Landscape Design at the same Institution. Inspired by the Urban Transformation of Bogotá in the past decades, his interests evolved from Landscape Architecture to his current passion; Urban Planning, Policy Making, and Sustainable Development. He plans to continue his studies in Urban Planning and Sustainability in Canada, Chile, or the U.S.; but for the moment he currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center of Metropolitan Transport Studies of the University of Buenos Aires and is a Member of the Observatory of Urban Sustainability at Belgrano University. Luis’ main interests lay within the study of Smart Cities, Urban Sustainable Development, and Social Architecture in Latin America.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 at 9:15 am and is filed under Architecture, Environment, Infrastructure, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “Argentina’s Adoption of America’s LEED Certified Buildings Program”

  1. Ivy Says:

    Hi, I’m a Hong Kong student studying in economics.
    I’m now doing a research about financing sustainable buildings in Latin America.

    I want to find some information about how people are encouraged to build sustainable buildings by, for example loans, grant, subsidies in the countries in Latin America. However, I found it is hard to collect such information.

    Is there any financing sources for that?? Thank you.

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