December 24, 2013

2013 BOY Winner: Mixed Retail

It was a challenge enough for the team of Saidee Springall and Jose Castillo, principals of Arquitectura 911SC, and Fernanda Canales to transform a century-old house into a very 21st-century cultural center. It was quite another to do so in a historic district, where the prerequisite is preservation. Leaving the existing structure essentially intact, the trio erected a bookstore addition over the front lawn: a box in concrete, steel, and glass. 

Visible through the glass is the original facade, complete with brick portico entry, as well an ash tree that continues to grow through a hole in the roof. Almost as towering are the bookshelves, their top sections reached by catwalks. A photomural portrait of the center’s namesake, an activist writer, beckons customers to pass through an archway lined in steel plate—once one of the house’s windows—to explore the cultural center proper. Bringing it to 14,600 square feet is a rear addition containing seminar rooms, offices, and an auditorium. 

Project Team:
Iván Cervantes; Edgar Romero; Arturo Carreón; Anabel Chávez; Javier Juárez.

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