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Mexico City apartment complex

Dwarfing the likes of New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, Mexico City boasts North America’s largest urban population. Even in the heart of the city, however, a sense of intimacy pervades, with quiet, low-rise residential streets in lieu of soaring skyscrapers and imposing mid-rise blocks. Many of the Mexican capital’s tranquil inner neighbourhoods are also surprisingly dense milieus of small 20th century apartment buildings — as well as recent projects like CPDA Arquitectos‘ Casa Jardin Escandón.

Situated south of the city centre in the mostly residential Escandón neighbourhood, the low-rise apartment complex faces Agricultura street with a gabled facade clad in galarza stone. In form and materials, the subtly articulated brick frontage speaks to the neighbourhood’s older buildings, while the facade’s three-storey scale blends in with an eclectic, varied streetscape. Past the wall, another setting beckons.

The building as seen from the street, showing the facade and trees planted in front.

A narrow but deliciously verdant inner courtyard is tucked into the spine of the complex, fostering a tranquil yet sociable feeling through the building. Bringing natural light and cross-ventilation into each of the 14 homes, the compact space is navigated by a zig-zagging path that accommodates triangular balconies for a pair of ground floor apartments. A lush array of native plant species energizes the space while maintaining a sense of privacy and separation, with the greenery gently spilling from the rooftop gardens.

Mexico City apartment complex

The light galarza bricks offer a crisp yet tactile backdrop for the courtyard’s rich greenery, while earth tones on the windows and railings reinforce a grounded, soothing ambiance. In a small courtyard, the unfussy combination of light tones and subtle brick articulation also make for a more comfortable space.

Close-up view of the building's courtyard, showing the cladding, window and railing treatments.

Four suites — each with a private green space — occupy the ground floor, with 10 larger three-storey apartments above. Catering to families, the townhouse-style homes on the upper levels each feature a private rooftop garden. Atop the brick-clad form that defines the building’s street-level presence, the upper-most storey combines outdoor green space with discrete dusty pink residential volumes set back from the courtyard. From above, it’s a graceful accent on the tree-lined local skyline.

View of the building's stairwell, filled with greenery.

On a relatively narrow site, CPDA Arquitectos’ design offers a breathable infusion of family-friendly density to the neighbourhood. It’s an urban scale seldom found across North America — dubbed the “missing middle” between single-family homes and larger mid- and high-rise buildings — but one that continues to define much of the residential fabric of the Mexican capital.

Mexico City apartment complex as seen from above

Casa Jardin Escandón joins recent projects like PPAA’s artfully austere eight-unit Carrizal and Taller Héctor Barroso’s striking multi-family LC710 housing complex. Varied in style and sensibility, much of Mexico City’s new residential architecture is united by an embrace of outdoor space within a modest urban scale — and no shortage of aesthetic ambition.

A Mexico City Apartment Complex Embraces Intimate Urban Greenery

CPDA Arquitectos bring modest density — and exuberant plant life — to the popular Escandón neighbourhood.

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