Located in a quiet street to the west of one of the most emblematic neighborhoods in Mexico City (Santa María La Ribera), Lirio 7 is an intervention that has its roots on the understanding of population dynamics, urban settlements and especially the current situation of Mexico City.
Lirio 7 has an interesting background; as a construction with Art Déco style, originally housed public baths during the 30s, then in the 50s became a sanatorium, and before its abandonment in which the property was found, it was the headquarters of a security company.
Considering these conditions, we took advantage from an abandoned building without any recognized heritage value by local authorities, to restore it and offer a specific model of housing that recovers the historical value of Santa María La Ribera neighborhood. With these premises, the approach to the project occurred naturally, talking with neighbors and knowing the object and the environment in which it is located.
The design process is based on the concept of a central patio and its perimeter circulation, which was adapted into a new layout to create 12 apartments where the main corridor becomes part of the home. In this type of buildings, this circulation is a public place and the challenge on making it private, leads to define an enclosure that plays with the visuals.
The dwellings are arranged around the patio, orienting their views to it, which is considered as a place of introspection, not so much as circulation. Concrete elements of different heights acts as planters, dampening the sound of the water from the recovered fountain and support the discourse of circulations, interposing themselves in the visuals, once again to guide and give privacy to the user.
The first and second floors, with a greater free height (typical of the original construction moment) allows a greater volume of use of the spaces and the optimize of natural lighting and ventilation. With the use of mirrored glass, the optimal functioning of this resource is made possible, it preserves the privacy of the user, while camouflages the use of with the reflections of the pre-existing elements.
A perforated concrete prism, protrudes from the patio’s façade, creating a visual contrast without stealing its relevance. With a different materiality and density from the rest of the project, this intervention is presented and allows independent access to the last apartment. This volume from the outside patches the view and generates a light game, in darkness towards the last apartment, the terraces, the enjoyment of them and the views they offer.
As an example of the philosophy with which we want to be part of this historical moment of the city as architects and habitants of it, we give an analogy as an example. When a person arrives in a forest, surrounded by vegetation, their first resource with which to supply their need to refuge is to resort to the elements that nature provides, in this case, vegetation and trees. In this case, these symbolic and representative values of architecture can be extrapolated to the city, as a naturalized environment in which much of the activity is carried out in our days.
Alfonso Quiñones started his career in restoration and rehabilitation projects for different buildings within the first quarter of Mexico City. In 2007 he founded BAAQ’, dedicating the office to housing development and architectural design where he has been recognized with Honorable Mention in the 2012 Biennial of Mexican Architecture. In 2012, he was invited by Tadao Ando to be the local architect associated to the Casa Wabi project in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. In 2016, he was also invited by Alvaro Siza to develop the Taller de Barro at Casa Wabi. He is currently developing with Kengo Kuma, the design of a chicken coop with an experimental construction system. In parallel, he has developed housing projects by the intervention and recovery of historic buildings in Mexico City. His work is characterized by the premise of renovating, preserving and adapting abandoned buildings to new real uses, reintegrating them into the urban and social dynamics of their urban and social environment.