MY GOAL WAS TO BRING ORDER, WHILE PRESERVING THE INFORMALITY OF THE DIFFERENT SPACES AND HOW THEY INTERACT. ONE THING THAT I APPRECIATED, WAS THAT OUR CLIENT WAS INTERESTED IN A BUILDING AS A MACHINE.
The freedom to help determine the focus and strategy to realize the project made is possible to develop a plan that would embody a number of our long-standing goals for urban spaces. These include a deep commitment to sustainability, pervasive green space, on-site energy production and water recycling. In addition, we created a project focused around the theme of food and created opportunities for graduates of the school to begin their careers in spaces serving as incubators. More broadly, the entire complex is themed around health and wellness. This involved the integration of urban agriculture, sports clubs, and public outdoor spaces for games and activities. We also aimed for the plan to be highly walkable and seamlessly connected to the broader urban plan of Puebla.
The school will serve as the anchor of the development and the development will embody the values of the school. The school itself is spread across 6 floors – each of which extends further over a generous terrace in order to create a grand cantilever. This gesture expresses the mission of hospitality that defines the school. It is balanced by the vertical gesture of two central atriums that organize the primary circulation. The formal gesture of the school is echoed in the buildings of the master plan. The cantilever of the school gestures to the towers and the towers’ stepped roof gestures to the city. The site is organized around a pedestrian and car access point that unites the school and the master plan.
The program is somewhat complex with classrooms, restaurant, gathering space, wine school, storage, and kitchens. In terms of planning, the building is broken down into a theoretical and a practical wing. One wing is wider to accommodate kitchens and the other smaller to accommodate classrooms. The asymmetry reflects this inherent function. The other component was the public space that included room for exhibitions, a forum, and an auditorium. There was also a restaurant with a shop where people can host daily inexpensive meals for neighbors. In addition, a wine school is housed in the building in a tower whose walls are largely solid. The idea is for it to reflect the experience of being in a classical wine cave in France where wines are aged for decades.
The access to the building is from the back via a monumental stair that brings the visitor to the ground floor where they get a glance of how all the components of the building fit together. They can look up to see the classrooms and forward to the big plaza with the elevators immediately in front of them. The city has phenomenal climate which makes dining in this open plaza ideal. This open plaza is, as a result, such an important space for the institute. The bridges used to connect the classrooms create movement. One can see walking, groceries being delivered, and carts being brought into the kitchens.
The master plan is defined by the primary gesture of a circle in which the three towers sit. The form of the circle balances the angular form of the towers and guides the retail buildings and gardens that define the ground plane. It provides a circular path along which visitors can walk as they experience retail, dine, and potentially enter the central circle in which the three towers sit. The overall design is one that will stand out as daring within the relatively conservative architectural landscape of Puebla, create a uniquely desirable place for visitors connected to greenspace and culinary excellence, and set a new standard for architecture in the city.
There are three distinct types of apartment in the towers: high-end condos, mid-range condos, and studios for young single people. The architecture reflects these three options while also keeping a common language. The idea was to create an architecture that would unify the different segments. It is also important to note that the different uses are not of a different quality. They are just different experiences. The goal is to create a very democratic space. It was important that each one of the buildings show a broader menu of what it means to be a residential building. These elements range from a balcony to the terrace to the logia to the winter garden. Each is randomized through the building. It gives the building a rich image and a very residential character.