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Magnolio Media Group


Montevideo, Uruguay

February 2019


Pedro Livni Aldabalde



Francisco de Posadas


Javier Agustin Rojas


Using as a reference the idea of the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table, the project’s great challenge was to achieve the synergy between three quite dissimilar programs, a restaurant, four radio broadcasters and a 150 seat theater-assembly hall while maintaining functional independence.
With this objective on the ground floor of the existing house, in the most public sector of the project, the restaurant is located. Attached over the back of it, in the manner of a bridge, the broadcasting facilities are set, sector which continues on the first floor of the house. At the back of the lot and occupying the entire width the auditorium-theater is located.
The exterior spaces are understood as a fortuitous place which articulates the contradictory conditions of interaction and functional independence. A grand pre-existing magnolia tree, which names the building, is understood as a rotation center. The bridge building transforms into a great foyer for the assembly hall. The house’s front and lateral terraces operate as an expansion for the restaurant. Both spaces are set by the aforementioned Magnolia tree.


The Magnolio Media Group project consists of the reuse, expansion and transformation of an existing house of eclectic style and elevated heritage value into a media complex for four radio broadcasters, a 150 seat theater-assembly hall and a restaurant. Programs which while contained in a sole building must account for the contradictory possibility of interacting and coexisting independently.
The challenge of the project centered on how to attach the new programmatic necessities which far surpassed the existing square footage of the preexisting house while keeping a certain balance between its parts. As the existing house, transformed by the inside, is located towards the front of its street facing lot the problem of form giving in urban terms is avoided. Thus, although the intervention quadruples the existing houses’ square footage, for the casual passerby on the street the extension goes unnoticed.
In constructive terms the new extension is resolved, almost entirely, by way of prefabricated assemblies. These are formed by a steel beam and column structure on which prestressed and precast concrete slabs are set to resolve the horizontal planes. To resolve the exterior vertical enclosures a glass skin is applied.
In formal terms the figurative styled preexistence collides with the addition of a new level which unfolds towards the rear.


The main aim was to bestow the building with a strong public dimension. The particular size of the lot —a width of some 17 meters— allowed us to set the new totally elevated floorplan at the rear, as a bridge building that caps the assembly hall which takes the entire width of the lot. Mirroring postwar Paulista School Architecture, the space sheltered under the “bridge building” becomes an extension of the street’s public space. This space, in the manner of a sheltered plaza, acts both as a meeting space and an outdoor foyer which leads to the assembly hall, at once linking from the outside all three programs.
The great Magnolia tree, visible from the street, introduces a vertical counterpoint which contrasts with the horizontality of the large beams which hold the elevated building located at the rear. With the aim to generate an estrangement between the street and the core of the lot, on both sides of the “bridge building” two tropical gardens are formed which flank the foyer inspired in the naive images of Henri Rousseau.

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