Derek Dellekamp in Mexico City | The Plan
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Derek Dellekamp in Mexico City

Dellekamp Arquitectos

Derek Dellekamp in Mexico City
By Raymund Ryan -

On a leafy corner in Anzures, a largely residential district in Mexico City, a new apartment building has an elegant and enigmatic presence. Set behind black-painted concrete walls at the intersection of Michelet and Copernico, streets named for the French historian and Polish scientist, the three-storey building is almost entirely clad in large, floor-to-ceiling panels of glass, transparent planes held in place by minimal black frames. Facing east and south these glass facades are protected by, and reflect, the foliage of mature trees rising from the sidewalk: a liquidambar or red gum tree, an ash tree at the corner, and a jacaranda with seasonal purple flowers. The building is pulled a short distance back from its immediate neighbors, thus establishing a certain independence. It is divided into three crystalline blocks, each approximately the size of a bourgeois house or villa: a square block overlooking Copernico; a corner pavilion parallel to Michelet; and a skinny block to the rear, perpendicular to the street. The entrance to Michelet 50 is between these latter blocks, marked by a glass door and white interior to break the outer wall surface. Passers-by cannot see directly into the ground floor apartments due to the rough-surfaced black wall over which a yellow-flowered ivy is allowed gambol. The vertical zones between the glass facades are also black - black asphalt - and profuse, almost surreally fecund, with ivy. The ivy has rather ingeniously been appropriated from a temporary installation by the artist Jeronimo Hagerman. Look carefully and notice that these recesses ripple in contrast to the taut rectilinearity of the primary facades; they are also occasionally punctured by black metal cylinders that house operable porthole windows. If the prismatic cage of glass and black exterior frame suggests such rationalistic works by Herzog & de Meuron as the Koechlin Villa at Riehen, the interstitial zones recall the same Swiss architects’ respect for...

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