Architects: Sebastian Mariscal Studio
Location: Tijuana, Mexico
Project Team: Sebastian Mariscal, Dominique Houriet, Dario Alvarez
Project Manager: Dario Alvarez
Landscape: Marcie Harris Landscape Architecture
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Rebecca Wilson
The city of Tijuana is in constant acceleration as it keeps pace with the people that rush to approach it with increasing intensity. It offers the virtue of contrast for this Learning Center clothed in aged wood.
The façade bears no signs and no indication of what the building holds, rather it invites the curious visitor to find for himself a plaza where water pours slowly into a pool, calling the sun’s rays to dance on its surface. The light is reflected onto concrete walls with the worn texture of imperfection that is characteristic of the passage of time.
The journey continues to a corridor narrow enough for a single person. This creates an awareness of the building’s palette: the light that falls on the concrete walls, the silence that shares the halls with mystery, and the sky above framed by the various volumes.
This path turns and leads to a standing body of water and a sunken garden. Suddenly the water bubbles, splashes over its edges and in seconds becomes still once again. Here the day seems to pause while the aralias continue to grow. Adjacent to this area is an expansive room with an archive of books. The glass walls slide open and invite the exterior to share in its space.
Light travels across the garden and finds an opening between two walls, where a step presents itself and offers its surface to one’s feet. Turning the corner, the steps lead up to an unknown space, darker than the rest, which holds the visitor until a wall swings open to a roof garden. Native succulents bask as the gravel offers a path to a deck, surrounded by rosemary.
The day ends as one takes refuge in a room similar to a monk’s chamber. With little more than a writing surface and a space for books, the private retreat allows one to wait for another day of introspec- tion and reflection.