This building speaks of mediation. It is an element that intends to situate itself halfway between culture and nature; openness and introspection; imposition and dissolution. This building simultaneously expresses seriousness and playfulness; firmness and frailty; the conclusiveness of weight and the relief that lightness offers. Within its urban flavor we perceive a playful childlike touch. We see orthogonal rigidity spiced by a dew of bright colored spheres which recall the presence of poetry in everyday life.
This building is located in a small street of a residential district in Mexico City conveniently near a highly transferred commercial area. This allows the building to be both quiet and peaceful confronting the commercial rapture. The purpose of this project was to create a functional block with the capacity of blending gently into its context; dissolving or diluting the strong information contained in its environment. This building adjoins on its west side to a house, and on its south-eastern side to a self service shop.
The architectural layout includes an underground parking lot for 24 cars and fits 13 apartments in two blocks; the front one, facing north and the back one, facing south. They are connected on each level by a lobby which leads to the stairways and elevators. The block in the back contains five levels whereas the one in the front consists of only four, this condition allowed the roof of this last one to become a terrace for special events. The interiors of the apartments were left as open as possible. It was chosen not to determine the (acabados) completions so as to allow each user to create their own interior design according to their needs and taste.
The materials paddle was kept with 3 ingredients: a neutral one, related to the urban context (Concrete and gray walls) a warm one to evoke the presence of nature (Machiche type wood) and a colorful one to inject the project with flavor and joy (blown glass and green epoxic flooring).
The façade is made of 7,723 blown glass spheres handcrafted in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Each sphere is supported by an EPDM disc ( a kind of high-outdoor resistant rubber used in the automotive industry) fixed to a stainless steel cable by a conventional nut. Each cable supports a maximum of 27 spheres and is attached to the concrete structure in its upper side and on its lower side to some structural steel sections.
This sphere mass creates a certain introspection for the dwellers, simultaneously softening the visual experience from the interior. It has proven to be resistant to the severity of weather and dwellers. Its maintenance, being the main issue, has to be done manually and requires twice the frequency than any conventional façade.
The idea of using this sphere mass was inspired by strolling through a market and gazing at the way fruits and vegetables are displayed, looking at pictures of children playing with soap bubbles at a public square, from the observation of the incessant quality of Mexicans to build their reality through repetition, from the need to incorporate magic and innocence into our daily lives and to remember that beauty can be part of our lives as long as we choose it to be.
Description by architects
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