The main building was constructed in the beginning of the XX century and it is catalogued by INBA INAH and SEDUVI, (government organizations) as a historic property because of its artistic, historic and national value. It was destined first for housing use but later in time it hosted different businesses from a bakery to a brothel. All that experience is what gives to the building its essence and makes the space unique. The building acquires its personality and character as a real person, with all those experiences, in a practical way which results in a singular place with its own scars, marks, and prints, which will be respected and will take and important part in the project, and accompany the new chapter of its life, a different use.
The site of the project has encountered and suffered many changes over the years. In the beginning of the XX century, the district was mainly filled with resting houses or cottages with wealthy owners, but the city´s growth and its location near the heart of the city caused the abandonment of the area. The disaster provoked by Mexico City´s earthquake on 1985 triggered a negative effect in the city´s distribution dynamics and made it difficult for the historical districts to consolidate in the urban context.
Because of being catalogued by the INBA, the intervention in the construction must try to keep the essence of the preexistent building. It responds to the requirements of three different clients, flexible spaces and a wide visual range of all the area, which wants to give each client a feeling of appropriation of space giving a special importance to the main entrance plaza.
Some successful examples of the ideas mentioned previously can be the work of authors such as Donald Judd in its Project Marfa, Texas, or most recent Project, Matadero Madrid, buildings that see beyond an old construction and just remodeling it. Work and play with the existent elements, not adapt to them, which is the real challenge, actions that almost go against the ideals and work of an architect, taught in schools and in almost every studio. Create without construct..
Create without construct. It sounds like an almost impossible nevertheless effective and innovative goal. The idea behind the project rules over any formal representation of itself. The clarity of the concept is mainly what determines the potential behind a project that is visually attractive, going beyond any physical elements which make the project a reality. Sensations of what is in place and what used to be, are the memories that remain, provoked by various stimulations mainly by the simplest element, space, this is at the end architecture.
Since the first sketches, we were searching to generate solid blocks with voids, in other words, positive and negative between spaces; the arrangement of these bocks and its height is based on the central plaza. With this actions we have static and dynamic spaces as a result.
The building interior has plenty of different textures in every area. Textures that cannot be produced artificially, textures that only time can generate and will not be hidden. It doesn’t matter if its wasted paint, raw brick, old vegetation that has overcome some old beams or walls, that use to carry something before and which nowadays work as almost sculptures, nothing is changed, the only limitation is the preservation of the building itself.
The garden is mainly contemplative, its sober colors and textures contrast directly with the raw red of the bricks that surround it. Three ashes that are part of the building´s history reveal its true character. Young ashes are the new accents of the gravel garden that rise apart from each other, and can be seen from strategic points of the building interior. The stone monoliths enrich the space with its irregular and solid figures. Old wooden beams that were recuperated work as benches that help contemplate and rest inside the space.