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2014 MCHAP

Elena Garro Cultural Center

Fernanda Canales + aquitectura911

Mexico City, Mexico



Fernanda Canales arquitectura911


ENTORNO- Hugo Sánchez & Tonatiuh Martinez (landscape) Paloma Torres (artistic collaboration)


EDUCAL- Octavio Galindo Gordillo


Sandra Péreznieto Jaime Navarro


The project consists of several elements that define the intervention: a first part which marks the entrance, framing the volume and linking it with the street and highlighting the existing house; secondly, a series of gardens and courtyards surrounding the project and inserted inside; and, finally, a rectangular volume at the back of the site, developed on three levels, consisting of a multi-purpose room, storerooms, and parking spaces on ground floor. These pieces mark the different paths and manage to bind all the parts.


The project, located in Coyoacán, is an adaptation of an existing house, a listed building from early-20th century- which was transformed into a cultural center on Fernández Leal street. The need to preserve the existing property led to the decision that the project would highlight the new uses and, at the same time, respect the original shell. It was this preexistence of the house, that guided us towards the decision to establish new volumes adjoining, butting up-against, and defining interesting relationships with the original house. The entire project is seen as a separate part of the existing house and can allow at all times a reversible intervention if necessary. Using materials such as volcanic stone on the exteriors, as well as tzalam wood and gray granite on the indoors, the whole complex is integrated.


The connection of the two bodies is built around a sequence of full and void spaces, distributing the project into three principal blocks. The first element, which extends from the street by means of the pavement, frames the existing house, highlighting the central access porch and leading into the library, composed of double heights and perforations for natural light. The old house becomes the central space, dedicated to the library, which is visible from the street, as a large and public space. By means of a ladder which resembles the original one, the visitor is taken to the top floor of the library. All three volumes are connected together on the first level through the library, with a ladder at the rear volume that connects the different levels and also gives access from the parking lot. This staircase also leads to a terrace on the roof level. By means of the aisle inside the library, the project is connected to the new volume at the back of the property. Furthermore, the gardens become more relevant for being integrated into the access plaza and along the length of the volume of existing property, even tucking around the side where the old and new are mixed.

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