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2016 MCHAP

Maria Ribera (La Cubana)

Javier Sanchez Corral

Mexico City, Mexico

December 2015


Javier Sánchez Corral


Benedikt Fahlbusch (Associate Architect)


Ana Ximena Torres Betancourt (Marhnos Habitat)


Luis Gallardo


The focal design strategy is to create a neighborhood within a neighborhood. Taking design cues from the historic landmarked buildings, the new project features subtly varied façade materials and contextually sensitive heights. Accessible to the city and the neighborhood through the design and fair prices for the area, the development bets for the revival and infill of a traditional neighborhood. Public spaces relate between themselves and create a sequence of plazas, accomplishing the use of the ground level. Spatial composition is based in the relationship between the public and private areas, generating the interaction with the surrounding conditions while keeping the privacy needed by its users. Social interactions within the complex are the result of a powerful cultural and architectural heritage encouraged by the tradition of the “vecindad” architecture typology. Regenerating an urban site had two important outcomes, on one hand we were able to reuse its historic buildings, and on the other hand we preserved the existing flora and fauna by integrating new public plazas around these natural assets.


Maria Ribera Residential Complex is a development for a 1.94 acre urban renewal project that during many years used to be a Chocolate Factory located at the core of a traditional and historic neighborhood (Santa Maria la Ribera 1860), each building perfectly fits into the immediate context clearly corresponding in height, materials, and orientation. The result is a vibrant ensemble of different constructions related and connected by numerous public areas such as plazas, corridors, a tree covered playground, and an open screening square for outdoor cinema. The site is immersed within a typical Santa Maria la Ribera´s block, it´s neighboring buildings are part of the urban cultural heritage; as a low level Chocolate Factory, its architecture used to be discretely hidden from the outside and the connection with the community was through the chocolate smell. Having this reference, the new project relates to the exterior through different pedestrian accesses, and also by fading away the architecture into the city. Giving tribute to the artistic value of the machine room and the main façade of the former Chocolate Factory, this ensemble form an important part of Maria Ribera development ´s design, both relevant elements belong to the Heritage Conservation program.


Maria Ribera has been designed for a wide range of users, it has different apartment typologies and space arrangements, the development´s spatial flexibility reinforces the heterogeneity of the neighborhood. The Site´s listed red brick façade is used for a 4 level apartment building, the result is a series of lofts with the original metal framed windows allowing the sunlight into the apartments and interior spaces with double heights. The rest of the constructions provide either private patios or terraces as well as public roof gardens to enjoy the city´s skyline, the neighbors interaction and the nice weather. In front of the lofts rests the former machine room, it used to house the factory´s machinery equipment, now this space has been transformed into a kid´s playroom, a multi purpose area, fitness room and a roof top terrace accessible for all the Maria Ribera´s community. The development creates a respectful dialogue between old and new, between tradition and innovation.

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