Posts tagged with "Mexico City":
This article appears in AN Interior's sixth edition—if you're not a subscriber, there's still time to buy it on newsstands! See our list of stores here.
Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss, of Mexico City–based Pedro&Juana, met in 2005 while attending SCI-Arc (the Southern California Institute of Architecture). The pair then spent about four years at Jorge Pardo Sculpture (JPS) in L.A. They launched Pedro&Juana in 2012, after moving to Mexico City from Mérida, Mexico, where Pardo had been building a hacienda. In the years since, the firm has developed a series of architecture- and furniture-driven designs, including installations for the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), 2016 Design Miami showcase, and an upcoming design for the Commons, a multiuse engagement space at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In all of their projects, they furnish public areas with furniture of their own design, imbuing utilitarian spaces with a joyful energy and effervescent wit. Those sensibilities—and some of those furniture pieces—are fully realized throughout the pair’s recently renovated, 1,200-square foot Mexico City apartment.
“We kind of just did it the way we wanted to,” Ruiz Galindo said, describing the radical renovations the pair made to their fanciful apartment in the city’s Colonia Juárez neighborhood. The residence is located in a two-story, 176-unit neoclassical building built in 1913 as housing for the administrative staff of a local tobacco company called El Buen Tono.
The apartment had a long history of deferred maintenance and disjointed alterations that allowed the designers to reprogram the spaces as they saw fit. “We eradicated hallways and, typologically speaking, went back in time,” Reuss said. The flip was simple: Service areas were consolidated and modernized in the front of the apartment, while bedrooms were moved to the back. The unit’s two patio spaces were revamped too, with one receiving a wooden deck and the other a masonry floor. The wooden deck sits above an open basement level designed to passively cool the unit. To access the basement, Ruiz Galindo and Reuss added a new spiral staircase made from salvaged wooden beams left over from the construction. “That basement can be a problem. In our neighborhood the city sinks between 10 and 15 centimeters every year,” Reuss said, explaining Colonia Juárez’s extra-porous subterranean landscape. When it rains, the apartment’s basement sometimes floods as a result.
The main bedroom’s floor was replaced. There, the designers painted the new floors white to match the walls and ceilings of the room. A low, wide bed fills a space shared with a rocking chair and a lamp prototype leftover from their days at JPS. A nearby bathroom is decorated with brick checkerboard floors and a colorful array of citrus-hued tiles. The kitchen, simply articulated and looking out over the masonry floor courtyard, features built-in cabinetry and wooden countertops. Water damage from semi-seasonal flooding left the original pine floors in the dining room rotted through, so Ruiz Galindo and Reuss replaced them. The new pine floors match the casework, everything a crisp hue of light golden brown. Deeply recessed French doors cut into the exterior masonry walls of the room, opening out onto a shared courtyard. The doors, studded with divided lights and paneling, like the wide sweeps of crown molding above, echo the Beaux Arts provenance of the building.
The rest is a mix of contemporary objects and hand-me-downs: utilitarian bracketed bookshelves, prototype chairs and leftover lamps from the CAB installation, a pair of cabriole-leg chairs upholstered in yak wool. Stacks of tiny objects abound too, including groupings of the firm’s Maceta ceramic pot, a stackable vessel made of inverted, symmetrical cones of clay. These objects, Reuss said, are “the residues and leftover prototypes, extras that [over time] started to populate our house.”
The Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series spotlight individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the discipline of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The jury, composed of Sunil Bald, Mario Gooden, Lisa Gray, Paul Lewis, Jing Liu, Thomas Phifer, Bradley Samuels, Billie Tsien, and Ian Volner, selected architects and designers who have significant bodies of realized work that creatively address larger issues in the built environment.
The Architect’s Newspaper featured the Emerging Voices firms in our February issue; stay tuned as we upload those articles to our website over the coming weeks. The firm featured below (Mexico City and Barcelona-based Cadaval & Solà-Morales) will deliver their lecture on March 16, 2017, at The Architecture League in New York City. Click here to learn more!
Eduardo Cadaval and Clara Solà-Morales met at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and launched their practice, Cadaval & Solà-Morales, in New York City shortly after in 2003. Two years later, they moved it to Barcelona and Mexico City. Their first projects were two residences: the House at the Pyrenees—a renovation and expansion of a vernacular house perched on the top of a mountain in Aran Valley, Spain—and TDA House in Oaxaca, Mexico, a beach house that can easily be opened and closed depending on the weather.
With a focus on residential architecture in challenging sites, Cadaval and Solà-Morales strive for an honest, straightforward approach—hitting that intersection of theory, practice, and academy. “We always look for simplicity in our work,” said cofounder and partner Cadaval. “We try to make bold projects that can stand the passage of time and not rely on the latest trends. We enjoy working at different scales and types of projects so we don’t have a set goal to achieve. We just try to do our work in the best way possible and enjoy the process.”
This simple approach has led to striking results: The X House is nestled into the hills of Cabrils, Barcelona, celebrating the expansive, dramatic views of nature and the city. The project also makes use of concrete construction techniques typically used for building bridges and tunnels. To help reduce costs and shorten the construction schedule, the project relied on high-density concrete made using a single-sided formwork rather than a double-sided one.
Outside of Spain, Cadaval and Solà-Morales are building up a body of work in and around Mexico City. “Recently we have been working on buildings that are part of an effort to densify Mexico City,” said Cadaval. These include urban residential units, such as Córdoba-Reurbano—a conversion (renovation and addition) of a formerly abandoned historic home to nine residential units with ground-floor commercial space.
Cadaval and Solà-Morales, both associate professors at the Barcelona School of Architecture, have also completed ephemeral works, including a Reporters without Borders exhibit at Robert Palace in Barcelona.
“We think that it would be very pretentious from our part to say that we stand apart from other offices,” explained Cadaval. “We all try to do our best. The only thing that we do is try to work as hard as possible and try to find solutions that simplify and synthesize the project.”