Intermediating the alluring frame of “Cerro de La Silla” mountain in Monterrey, Mexico, the mural clad ‘Transparente the Rectoria’ breathes in openness. The non-profit campus never fails to adapt to the future with infinite harmonious extensions. Fringing at a roundabout, this cultural venue is a remodeled dynamic structure erected authoritatively yet humbly surrendering to perpetual changes. The magnanimous volume of the primary facade projects an iconic figure escalating to a futuristic ideology. An institutional building is pampered as a cultural project.
A seamless approach
The public plaza ushers visitors from the roundabout on the west. Two water ponds at the end of the plaza reflect the six slender cylindric equidistant columns holding the crowned volume departing the lower carcass. The cavity on the lower level tears transparency into the symmetrical arrangement of the double-height lobby space. The stairways in the lobby space dissect in opposite directions towards a mural sitting at each mid-landing. The columns are disguised as independent columns untouched by the slab above breaking the masculinity of the administrative building. The delicacy of glass as an element to give a porous vision is an attempt to make the structure humble and approachable.
Subject to change
The Rectorium’s thirst for modernization craved the successive extensions causing functional disharmony. The rigidity in the material choice initially displayed the building as defensive. The interior spaces in the basement are handicapped by artificial lumination. Circulation was not adherent to the recent standards causing unintentional ignorance of the visitors to the rare exotic collection of Cervantina library. The underused central hall on the highest floor longed for civic partitions.
The approach to remodeling reckoned the design in tandem with:
– the historic sentiments of the Murals, an archeological sensitivity towards the elements of the past.
– Simplified circulation spaces to catalyze social mobility and communication.
– An increase in natural light for the scaled spaces.
– To rekindle the plaza space to highlight the journey towards the institution.
The language of the remodeled structure displays an adaptive solution to a futuristic approach, ideas, and vision.
Levels and zones
The ground floor has a forum that accommodates 60 participants in the space diving into the basement. The basement is utilized to train university teaching staff and for encouraging innovation in education. The Sala Mayor, an arrangement to conduct talks and presentations for 320 public figures is revived with additional meeting spaces on the second level. The Waffle-like 108 modules of Barrisol ceiling bring in an innovative atmosphere. Cervantes library shares its rare books on the third floor readily with the visitors. Intentionally placed pocket spaces behave as a setting for collaboration and the exchange of ideas. The fourth floor houses individual working stations. The highest level opens into the outside to interact with nature to relax and calm users.
Triumph of heritage
The restored historic evidence of culture and art held preserved within the Rectorium, are the celebrated backdrops for the futuristic journey of the recovered institution. The Venetian mosaic murals measuring 4m x 3m at the mid landings – the Microcosm and the Macrocosmos(1953), and the facade “ Struggle and victory of Quetzalcoatl on Tezcatlipoca or The triumph of Culture (1952 – 1954) are craftsmanship of Artist Jorge Gonzalez Camarena. The microcosm – exhibits the emergence of life on earth from its roots and atmosphere. Celebrating the adaptation of lives on earth through a human at the center evolved manifesting civilization to its current future. The Macrocosmos – The sun amidst the cosmos, surrounds the universe as a bearer of life.
A seamless approach
The Institute is culturally doting. The overly welcoming entrance sets a serene atmosphere of nurture and growth for the working and learning mass. The spaces for discussion and interaction have a flavor of informality in terms of materials and feelings. The vibrant murals at the mid-landing set a thirst for being different and innovative. The faint fabric ceiling at Sala Mayor swallows the double-height space seamlessly giving a meditative ambiance. The timber flooring gives a natural touch to learning. The co-working spaces on the perimeter of the building have an array of banded window punctures within a rectangular frame on the north-south facade, a choice to bring natural light instead of an artificial setting that brings less harm to the working environment and the natural environment. The skylights on the topmost floor are surrounded by a viewing gallery for leisure activities tainted by the rich mountains in the background.
Glass is the primary addition introduced to coincide spaces, a material of the future. The change in future trends will likely mark its way into the structure in the forthcoming time. The tight arrangement of the design has left minimum voids for an unknown future demand for the institute that constantly adapts to changes. This absence of foresight may catalyze disharmony and lack of cohesion within the remodeled edifice.
Architects- FGP Atelier
Associate Architects- ODA Architecture, NY
Lighting consultant- Arup London
Landscape consultant- Claudia Harari
Metal Cladding – ALPOLIC, Metal composites materials
Wood Ceiling – Rulon International
Stretched Fabric Ceiling – Barrisol-Normalu Sas
Glass Facade- Cristacurva
Wood Floor – Grato
Terrazo Floor- Terrazzo and marble supply.
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