Location: Mexico City
Architect: Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta, E. Norten
Collaborators: Aarón Hernández, Sergio Nuñez, Francisco Pardo, Julio Amezcua, Hugo Sánchez, Claudia Marquina, Carlos López, Martine Paquin, Adriana Díaz, Rubén Garnica, Miguel Ríos.
Art: Jan Hendrix, Graphic Design: Ricardo Salas. Sructure: Colinas de Buen. Mechanicals: Houbard & Bourlon. Glazing: Val y Carpentry: EMSA
Photography: Luis Gordoa, Undine Pröhl, Jean Luc Laloux
Awards: Business Week/ Architectural Record, XIII Bienal de Arq. de Quito, Ecuador / Mention, VII Bienal de Arquitectura Mexicana Silver Medal, World Arch. Awards /RIBA, London UK Latin American Building of the Year” Winner. ar + d 2001 Award (Hotel Habita), London, UK Winner. DuPont Benedictus Awards Recognition Award
Habita Hotel. On a commercial street lined with high-end stores and office buildings, we were commissioned to convert a five-story 1950’s apartment building into a thirty six room boutique hotel. In order to convert the existing structure into the new necessities of a hotel, a series of very precise and careful interventions were required. The old structure also gains an entirely new identity with a new wrapper, a frosted glass box of rectangular glass panels floating several feet from the original facade. Sandwiched between the new and old facades are the original balconies and new corridors. An interstitial space was created between the two skins, which works as a climatic and acoustic “buffer”, regulating the gain/loss of heat and shielding the private spaces of the hotel from the hectic urban environment of it’s surroundings.
From a distance, the clean new facade appears to be an expressionless mask, but this impression is undone at closer range as the shadows of walkways and balconies and their inhabitation become visible. Small, randomly distributed unfrosted lines and rectangles are the new facade’s only adornment. These strategically transparent slots give each room controlled views to the city beyond, framing the desirable and screening out the unsightly. At night, the entire building appears as a lantern with a changing checkerboard pattern of illumination, varying with the occupancy of the rooms.