Connected to the foyer of an elegant luxury hotel, the Café de la Reina or “BUR-BU-JA-JA” adds a colorful and casual note to the complex. A cafeteria during the day, the space transforms into a sophisticated cocktail bar at night, the patrons immersed in iridescent aquatic colors.
A long curved green bar runs through the space, while “seaweed” camouflages the curtain wall and the mundane view of the city beyond, dissolving it into small fragments of an organic, aquatic world. Smoothly curved walls with reflecting belts, circular benches and round tables create a sensual atmosphere where space and movement interact.
Belén Moneo, Jeffrey Brock
Andrea Caputo, María Pierres, Sandra Formigo, Andrés Barrón, Spencer Leaf and Silvia Fernández
The Casa TEC 205 is located very close to the Chipinque ecological park, an urban landscape dominated by the Sierra Madre, omnipresent backdrop to the city of Monterrey. This house is the first prize in a raffle organized every year by the Technological University of Monterrey to raise funds for its students.
The house design follows a number of complementary motives. The first, it could be said, was to preserve four large extant trees on the site, three walnuts and a trueno. In a context where house developments often raze all remnants of a prior life on a site, we decided to not just preserve these trees, but to make them part of the project. Since the house occupies approximately half of the site, and because the trees are distributed across its slope, the house necessarily surrounds and frames them. Now embedded in the house, the trees definitively characterize the spaces they inhabit.
The second motive was to open up the public spaces to the sky and the views, and to maximize the area of green space in those parts of the site not occupied by the building’s footprint. Because the land slopes steeply down from the entry level we were able to invert the conventional arrangement, placing the bedroom floor below the entry floor instead of above. This has various advantages. The bedrooms take advantage of the earth’s thermal mass, bringing natural freshness to the house and lowering cooling loads during the many months of high temperatures in Monterrey. This arrangement allows the more public floor to enjoy the better views that it’s higher position affords, and provides direct access to the garden for all the bedrooms.
A final consequence of this arrangement is that the outdoor public areas, the pool and grill and outdoor entertaining space, is shifted off the ground plane and onto the roof. The roof terrace is accessible directly from the street entry, from the more private breakfast terrace off the family room, and from inside the house by way of the main stair. It is conceived as a large exterior room, delimited by walls and windows that frame the fantastic views of the Monterrey mountains.
A third motive was that each major interior space of should enjoy a direct connection to its own corresponding outdoor space, be it a garden, a patio or a terrace. By this means, each room is associated with a different landscape, giving it a unique character and an individual light, be it reflected, direct or filtered. In order to gather the outdoor spaces into the project, a series of large wall planes intersect in the house’s center and project into the surrounding outdoor space, creating large surfaces that run continuously between the interior and the exterior spaces of the house. Rather than create an architecture of discreet closed volumes, this constructivist assembly allows the walls to be read as independent, plastic elements, their transgression of the building enclosure effectively blurring the distinction between inside and outside space. Having always admired the use of color in Mexico, from its vernacular architecture to that of the masters Luis Barragán and Ricardo Legorreta, we applied strong colors to these walls not only because we typically use color in our work, but as recognition and homage to this great heritage as well.
In the interior of the house, the color has been the protagonist again. The pigments applied to walls run inside and outside, emphasizing their autonomy and determining the character of each space. In some rooms, we have used vibrant wallpapers that create murals to provide color and design. In others we have placed Mexican tiles with geometric patterns and bright colors.
We have chosen furniture designed by leading international designers and prestigious brands with other more generic but equally beautiful pieces. For example, in the living room there are two sofas by Patricia Urquiola designed for Kettal and a Polder sofa by Hella Jongerius for Vitra. The large pendant lamp was designed by Arik Levy for VIbia, while the TamTam floor lamp was designed by Fabien Dumas for Marset. Two of the seats, the Slow Chairs, were designed by the Bouroullec brothers for Vitra,
Some of the products included with the house were designed by Moneo Brock, including the colorful, geometric carpets and the “PlexiJazz” screen of translucent acrylic and colored vinyl, which receives visitors in the entrance hall and establishes the general character of the interior design. The large carpet derived from the herringbone pattern of wooden boards in a parquet floor is our design, as is the loveseat Sonia D, made for Ecus.
In its very conception, the project incorporates bioclimatic measures to minimize its ecological impact. In Monterrey, the largest climactic energy loads occur in the cooling season, when high temperatures mix with high humidity to make a very uncomfortable atmosphere. The heating season is essentially non-existent.
The several patios with their mature trees create a cool and pleasant microclimates, offering natural light and clean air to the interior rooms. Besides the dappled shade offered by the trees, the house interior is protected from excessive insolation by a combination of exterior shutters on the windows to the east, vertical screens located to the side of the windows to the west and horizontal eaves over them to the south. The sun is in this way allowed to enter directly only a few hours each day in the cooler months, and never in summer. In addition, the windows are placed so as to take advantage of the prevailing east-west winds, inducing natural cross-ventilation.
The location of the bedrooms on the lower level, against one-story tall retaining wall allows them to take advantage of the stable, cool temperature of the earth’s mass. The bedrooms are exposed to the garden facing northeast, the optimal orientation for these rooms.
The location of the pool on the rooftop takes advantage of the continuous processes of evaporation and nighttime to maintain a cool thermal mass in this location. The roof, in addition to having a thick layer of thermal insulation, is protected from excessive overheating by pergolas and sunshades.
To complete the passive design we have treated carefully the potential energy loss via thermal bridges, insisting on the continuity of an adequate layer of insulation and of course all windows incorporate thermal breaks and double glazing. Inside the house, we selected low-energy appliances and electric lighting systems based on LED technology.
Watch the video presentation here: Casa TEC 205.
Tecnológico de Monterrey
Belén Moneo, Jeff Brock
The project is located in the Plaza de la Vila in the Majorcan municipality of Sencelles, a highly representative space for the town as it concentrates the parish, the Town Hall, the post office and other important premises for day-to-day life in one place of the sencelleres and sencellers.
During the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st this space has been partially used as a parking area. The competition proposed by the City Hall contemplated the need to recover this space for the citizens and to be able to host events such as markets, dances, processions, etc. The important citizen participation has been essential to better understand the needs of the people and offer a more complete and consistent response.
The new public space, surrounded by narrow streets and in the historic center of Sencelles, is a large meeting area for the enjoyment of all citizens. In summer, the new vegetation and pergola areas offer shelter from the high temperatures with large cool shaded areas. In winter, the deciduous vegetation allows the direct entry of the sun, which illuminates and heats the large space.
One of the most important parts of the transformation of the square into a space for the 21st century is to achieve universal accessibility. A new pedestrian ramp connects the different levels of the square, and also allows everyone to access the parish of San Pere, whose origins date back to the year 1236.
The ramp is integrated into a stepped stone grandstand, which looks towards the pergolas and offers seating for the different events that are held in the square.
The design is based on several concepts that allow us to talk about a sustainable project: Reuse, use of local materials and techniques, and passive measures to control temperature and improve comfort.
The reuse and protection of those elements with sentimental value for sencellers. The existing vegetation has been maintained, and part of the old stone paving has been reused. In addition, traditional sculptures and reliefs feature prominently and are framed by the new landscape.
All the materials and plant species that have been introduced are of a local nature, and give their best in the Mediterranean climate. In addition, the island's richness in terms of crafts and construction techniques has been decisive in the construction process, and allows us to speak of a totally local production and a Majorcan character.
A good example of this are the new benches that have been designed for the Plaça and that add notes of color to the whole.
Ayuntamiento de Sencelles
Sencelles, Mallorca, Spain
5009,8 ft ²
Belén Moneo, Jeff Brock
Francisco Blázquez, Federico Pérez
This sustainable proposal seeks to preserve and revitalize the ecosystem of the River Tajo, recuperating this natural area for the enjoyment of all citizens of Talavera pointing out the possibility this Tajo Natural Park, beginning in Talavera, can grow, adding territories and cities in such a way that, in a few years, we could follow the river from the Guadarrama mountain to its mouth in Lisbon.
The project is understood as a series of interventions, all consisting with this promising idea. The River’s protagonism in the Talavera de la Reina cityscape will be reasserted. It will be made accessible for the enjoyment of all citizens through a series of interventions and activities that bring the natural landscape of the river closer to the city. Finally, this park could become a tourist attraction for Talavera at a national level, as a supra-municipal infrastructure, with economic and social opportunities for the whole city.
The proposed solutions and objectives include sustainable measures to improve water quality, recover the habitats and species of this section of the Tajo River, improve the landscape and enable an increase in the use of the river and its banks in forms commensurate with the conservation of its biodiversity and its landscape. Opening the project to citizen participation should furthermore serve to achieve greater knowledge of the river’s history and evolution.
It is intended that the river be for "all" in the broadest sense; allowing the growth of the vegetation and the complex of habitats specific to the place, sheltering numerous autochthonous species of flora and fauna, improving and recovering the enormously attractive scenic landscapes of the river and its fertile plain, and allowing access by the citizens of and visitors to Talavera to the shores and islands for their use and enjoyment. In short, it is about achieving a Natural and Human River Landscape Park.
Confederación hidrográfica del Tajo y Ayuntamiento de Talavera de la Reina
Talavera de la Reina
MONEO BROCK, BLASCO ESPARZA, EIN
Irene Alberdi, Mathilde Noirot