2022

MCHAP

Circulo Mexicano Hotel

AMBROSI ETCHEGARAY

Mexico City, Mexico

July 2020

PRIMARY AUTHOR

Gabriela Etchegaray, Jorge Ambrosi

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

Carlos Couturier, La metropolitana, Deduce Design, Andrea Ortega and Duco Lab, Sarah Tanguy and Ivo Martins

CLIENT

GRUPO HABITA

PHOTOGRAPHER

Sergio López

OBJECTIVE

The project restored structures and materials that were relevant in different historical moments. It weaves conditions and memories that re-signify the property. From conditions that happened in the house, to associations that ponder a historical view of citizens. Preserving the property was not only about leaving the colonial façade standing, but about rescuing complete structures within the manners of inhabiting, integrating new uses, as well as old rituals.

The hotel's life is activated around the central courtyard on the access floor, the street life is brought in, to the back of the building and to the rooftop. The materiality evokes the foundations and constructions that remained as pre-hispanic architectures in the subsoil. The black granite as the void that contains a series of materials exposed from previous moments. We pursue to preserve the main courtyard in addition to bring such typology to the hotel rooms at the upper levels. Allowing natural light and ventilation, as well as playing with the experience of passing from the large central courtyard to smaller courtyards that in turn filter the public and private life of the hotel's corridors and public programs.

As an ode to Manuel Álvarez Bravo, the space play with filters, frames, and light sources. Inside the bedrooms, the light bounces off white quarries, elements of vegetation and water reflections. The minimum furniture was design in collaboration with La Metropolitana and become part of a game that invites the guest to reflect on the idea that less is enough.

CONTEXT

The project Círculo Mexicano began by questioning the luxury in life inherent in high-end hospitality design cases, along with the possibilities of a space to house a significant community. The latter, considers its location in the Historic Center of Mexico City where one of the oldest Spanish cathedrals in Latin America rests atop a ceremonial center of the Aztec world.

Grupo Habita is the pioneer of "lifestyle hotels" in Latin America. A hotel group that has trend-setting properties, constantly breaking new grounds. Their interest in the old 19th century listed townhouse behind the Mexico Cathedral, a property still owned by the priests, was mainly about the location and that the house was once home to the renowned Mexican photographer, Manuel Alvarez Bravo.

The project transforms the building into a Shaker-inspired boutique hotel. On the one hand, we wanted to question again the approach to luxury. On the other, to emphasize community life, as was done in ascetic monasteries, which was about the life of commerce, dialogue, care, and closeness.

On typology of a hotel, the collective spaces lead us to the existence of an indefinite limbo between private property and public space. At the same time, it considers that an asset with a vision of the future must imply ceasing to conceive of heritage as something static —as if it were a relic— and understanding that this carefully intervened and preserved relic can modify the memory of those around it; on another scale, it is the activation of a society.

PERFORMANCE

The hotel experience is constantly crossed by the reflection 'less is enough'. It was necessary to find the minimum operations that would make it possible to mediate between preservation, the link with the city and the privacy of visitors. A critical conservation exercise is carried out in the face of the reality that the project seeks to create.

The space resulting from the questioning ended up being transformed into a place that effectively encourages encounters. It functions on the first floor as a modern market where the street enters the building, from the sidewalk to the terrace. It is a project that returns attention to the visitor, to the natural environment, to the cathedral, to the street and to the center of Mexico City as a space rich in history and diversity.