Oficinas calle Isla de Flores
Pedro Livni Aldabalde
The industrial hall consisted of a structural grid of beams and pillars of reinforced concrete which is kept. This is put to work as a framework to house the new program. The project tackles the challenge of occupying the existing structure without losing the memory of the preceding industrial void.
Towards this end the vertical dimension and the presence of the color black became recurring motifs for the configuration of the space. Upon entry the access retains the total height of the industrial hall. A triple height which staggers descendent towards the first patio.
For the most part the new elements which configure the space are defined in steel and glass. The vertical circulation core, in steel and glass, is set occupying the access void in the manner of a peculiar character who announces the new use. Powered by the use of black reflections multiply into specular sequences and dilute the interior condition of the building.
In his “A Scientific Autobiography” (1981), Aldo Rossi pointed out that all creative quests are strongly linked to a certain form of continuity of architecture’s material condition. A guide to work on preexistence which he named “Continuity Principle”. A factor which presides all construction, in which the architectural form is what “remains and determines the construction of a world in which functions are in perpetual change”.
Set in an urban context of residential character, the project deals with the reconversion of an industrial hall into a corporate office building. With the objective of giving continuity to the project’s previously deployed energy it works on the existing elements. In the same manner as the adjacent typical Uruguayan patio houses, two patios which will inject air and light into the great hall are defined. This way the great indoor continuum is structured by patios establishing a spatial sequence.
The project, in its raw use of the previous material condition, can be understood akin to the painting “Naked Tango” (1994) by Guillermo Kuitca. Work which repeats the tango step diagram from “Dance Diagram Tango” (1962) by Andy Warhol. Work, “Naked Tango”, in which the prior condition, through the registry of the bare foot prints, is returned to the pure physical presence.
The project is located in Palermo, a typical centric residential neighborhood of Montevideo. The preexisting industrial building, reconverted for its new use, was out of scale in relation to the immediate residential context. To negotiate between the scale of the industrial hall and the adjacent houses the facade is understood as a mask which hides a large interior.
For the facades definition it was thought pertinent to recur to the window as a substantive element of the residential urban environment which characterizes the block. But to account for the new use the windows are exaggerated in size and are pulled, along with the access’ enclosure, towards the walls’ exterior. This way the reflections are caught on the surface of the glass inverting the openings habitual perception. The enclosing wall, inset by the new fenestration, is left raw and unfinished.
In general terms the project is materialized through the contrast between the raw physical presence and the new elements which redefine and announce the new use.