AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

 

The AS Town House Buildings in Mexico City’s La Condesa leafy neighbourhood have been designed by local art and architecture practice Ambrosi Etchegaray, lead by Jorge Ambrosi and Gabriela Etchegaray.

Mexico City has a unique architectural history and the buildings in the Condesa neighbourhood have special regulations surrounding the preservation of their heritage. AMBROSI ETCHEGARAY, the curators of the Mexican Pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, had their hands full before they’d even started.

The client brief called for the design of four new apartments in conjunction with a heritage listed house where the facade needed to be preserved.

“This condition inspired us to rethink life inside the old house and translate the scheme into the new building,” said the design team.

 

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

 

While the clean lines, choice of natural materials and the execution of simple geometric forms are the hallmark of this build, it is the gardens and courtyards that make this complex interface of separate buildings feel both conjoined and independently very private. This was one of the key ways the architects achieved the aim of rethinking life between the old house and the new buildings.

In fact, what they did was to created interior spaces that mimicked the original patios of the original house. This approach delivered the double effect of maintaining the privacy of the spaces from the other apartments as well as allowing each of the apartments to be naturally lit and ventilated.

Garden beds were incorporated at the junction between the interior and the patios. This enabled a way to incorporate the landscape into the architecture, seamlessly blending the inside with the exterior.

 

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

AS Building Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray | Yellowtrace

 

Often times the limitations of working on heritage listed buildings are fraught with restrictions and what can feel like undue processes and limitations. However, AMBROSI ETCHEGARAY found the process opened up their perception of what heritage is essentially all about. It prompted them to question why it is important to value heritage and how do we integrate the old with the new? Where should the past stop and the future begin?

“This process helped us understand how to treat a valued heritage with awareness and care and the result is a juxtaposition of memory and urban development,” explain the architects.

Which is a lovely way of saying, that our memories hold such a precious place and should be treasured. And we can’t create new memories without making space to form something new.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Ambrosi Etchegaray. Photography by Rory Gardiner.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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