Querétaro (central Mexico) is a medium-sized city, with a temperate climate and a beautiful historic center. In the last four decades, the metropolitan area, made up of five municipalities, has experienced strong growth, driven by industry and quality of life – which is now in danger. In a neighborhood that we love: for the tranquility of its streets, magnificent park and privileged location in the heart of Querétaro. A unique neighborhood to live, work and enjoy.
As an essential part of the design, it highlights the environmental responsibility of the building, thanks to the vegetation that embraces it, the local materials that shape it, and the clean technology that reduces its carbon footprint. With a vocation for architecture, community life
As a result of this growth –and due to administrative negligence and obsolete, decontextualized and disjointed public policies–, the urban sprawl has increased 17 times, and the city center has been emptied.
The result is evident: excessive vehicular traffic, poor air quality, closed suburbs without identity, fragmentation of the social fabric, soil erosion, flooding in low-lying areas, reduction of nature reserves, lack of public spaces, lousy transportation. public, and a long etcetera that has transformed Querétaro: from a compact, dense and walkable city, to a chaotic city.
Given this diagnosis, and given the null supply of new housing in the downtown area, we understood the need to build spaces with identity, dense and sustainable, that re-naturalize the city with plants and trees, and allow their users to explore the beautiful nucleus from Querétaro on foot and by bicycle.
This led us to select a vacant lot, without vegetation, in a strategically located neighborhood, mature and with quality public space: Jardines de la Hacienda, one of the neighborhoods with the greatest potential for urban revitalization in the city.
The location was decisive in configuring the architectural program and the vocation of the space. From the conceptualization, we decided to place the volume in the center of the terrain. From there, we select the orientation to be able to naturally light and ventilate all the homes. This allowed us to create a direct relationship with the environment.
As the central axis of the design, for the twelve apartments we generate terraces with great opening and their own green ecosystem. These exterior spaces function as an extension of the living-dining room and, at the same time, are a green barrier that allows privacy to be maintained inside.
On the façade, to divide the geometry of the work, we decided to break the volume with natural concrete slabs as a finish, especially visible in the apartments on the last level, which, with the help of the windows extended to the corners, express a feeling of lightness. and opening.
The materiality is translated into the typical elements of the region, with a catalog that includes stone, marble, concrete, terrazzo, wood and ironwork. With these materials we respect the architecture of the area, we value nature and we recover artisan manufacturing.
The building is electric -free of fossil fuels-, and both the public areas and the apartments are fed by solar panels located on the roof, which also serves as a large rain collector, which is connected to a water storage system of rain and direct filtration to the subsoil located in the basement. The exterior walls are double -engineered partition-, which, added to cross ventilation and the plant barrier, allows a pleasant climate inside, without the need for artificial air conditioning.
Most of the users of the building have reduced their trips by car, and have chosen to move on foot, on skateboards and by bicycle. Their consumption habits have also changed: from large stores to local commerce. Little by little, the building and its users have been integrated into the context, as a minuscule testimony that another Querétaro is possible.
Studio NameCuarto Piso + Barragan Arquitectos
Lead designerJuan Pablo González de Cossio, Luis Barragán Rivera