Architects: Juan Carlos Seijo Encalada, Josefina Peon Puerto
Location: Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico
Collaborators: Israel Ramírez Segura, Marco Sogbi Martínez, Claudina Peon Puerto, Alejandra Molina Gual
Photography: Alberto Cáceres Zenteno
From the architect. The building was designed for a mobile telephone company, and rises from an initial idea from the clients to create a “warehouse with offices”, i.e., they requested a box with a single door… a building closed to the exterior with a versatile interior that could be exploited for a variety of uses without a space hierarchy. The idea of closing the building to the exterior was mainly needed for security reasons.
This volume partition becomes the main articulator for the project, since in the interior it divides the public areas (reception area and sales floor) from the more private areas (offices and safe-keeping areas). These division continues towards the back of the lot where the same opening serves as an access for thestaff. This “slicing” gesture and the urban presence it creates are reinforced through a contrasting texture given to the diagonal wall… a large black granite wall that demands attention through scale and inserts itself into the white box in a subtle angle, clearly marking the entrance, and inviting the visitor to discover and engage towards entering the building.
The parcel is located on a low-transited local street dedicated to residential and low-impact commercial use. However,a few meters toward the east of the property there is a much more heavily transited main street. The “Door” of the project emphasizes a strong urban link with the main road nearby. The simple volume is only broken by a single diagonal cut that strongly establishes the access gesture, links to the context, and defines the image of the building. Conceptually the reflection on this wall establishes a dialog with the environment, and communication is the main objective of the company that this building hosts.
The diagonal access pathway is gradually closing, and dramatically reducing and evolving from urban to architectural/building scale. In this access path a slim slice is generated that serves as the only reference with the human scale.This path to access finishes off with a small patio in which the main spatial opening is towards the sky. The diagonal line continues after the reception, crossing like a bridge between the two main volumes of the building. This connection that links both elements is also the link to the upper level.
In the back is the parking lot and loading dockfor the warehouses. This zone has a tight bond with the main work area in the ground floor responding to the required functionality. On the top floor are the finance and private offices for the owners of the company –a young couple- dominating the work spaces belowthrough a double height space; in particular the director´s office that virtually "floats" over the main work area.
Construction-wise the building is structured with concrete block walls, reinforced concrete beams and columns, and concrete slabs with a precast joist-and-beam roofing system. In regard to final finishes the overall volume is white stucco and the main access wall is covered with black granite in horizontal plates of 60 x 120 cms. (2 by 4 feet). The practical and urban functions of the building fuse into one: creating opportunities of dialog.