at 103 + Bgp Arquitectura | The Plan
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at 103 + Bgp Arquitectura

BGP Arquitectura | AT 103

at 103 + Bgp Arquitectura
By Raymund Ryan -

The Avenida Insurgentes is a major thoroughfare running north/south through Mexico City and intersecting, at an oblique angle, the Paseo de la Reforma, the principal artery of the Mexican capital. Reforma has nationalistic monuments and mature trees and, more recently, ambitious skyscrapers lining its edges. Insurgentes is less grand, with a mixture of business premises and apartment houses divided by a steady stream of traffic. Just north of Reforma, a somewhat mysterious structure is aligned flush with Insurgentes. It hovers above an extensive ground plane.
This is a fire station evocatively named Ave Fénix after the phoenix, that mythological bird reborn through fire. The new facility replaces a nightclub that burned down, with tragic loss of life, in October 2000.
Ave Fénix presents itself to the bustling avenue as a glistening façade, a taut billboard stretched across the lot’s eastern boundary with few graphic identifiers or significant clues to actual scale. It is composed from vertical panels that, in instances, are set slightly apart to allow glimpses into the building’s bowels or inner skin. One of these vertical, zipper-like gaps reveals a brilliant red interior. In daylight the façade, bridging an almost continuous void at street level, appears to reflect or mimic the urban sky. At night it is illuminated by recessed, vertical streaks of light such that Ave Fénix participates in the electric scenography of this very contemporary city.
The aluminium panels are held forward of an opaque inner wall. This composite elevation acts not only as a static billboard, to be viewed frontally from across the street, but also - when glimpsed from passing vehicles - as a kinetic marker.
The street and pavement flow directly into the shaded void beneath this elevated façade. There are no gates or shutters. Here, depending on circumstances, the apron-like floor is occupied by trucks and vans and motorcycles all emblazoned in the vivid red-and-white...

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