Team: Juan Pablo Maza with Estefanía Hoth and Daniel Nava
The Mini-Studio in Colonia del Valle, a south-central neighbourhood in Mexico City, is an unlikely candidate to take the top honour in a category where contemporary shapes and expressive finishes are expected to reign. However, the ethereal emptiness of its fractal form made this all-white space without furniture a standout.
Originally a storage room, the brick and concrete space is nestled into a backyard and surrounded by three existing buildings. Measuring a mere 27 square metres on the main level, the workshop is defined by twists and folds that prevent any direct sunlight from entering the interior – a request from the client, who also wanted to maintain clear views to the garden.
The transformation was achieved via a mezzanine that halves the volume and gives the interior added floor space, as well as access to the roof. Punctuated by a row of windows, the sloped ceiling indirectly draws light into the second level, and only subtly brings natural light to the main level, projecting angled shadows across the concrete floor. Meanwhile, foldaway glass doors face directly onto the greenery.
With such careful articulation and poetic control of perspectives and vanishing points, this gem project is just as resolved in its expression as any building 10 times its size.
THE FIRM Founded by Juan Pablo Maza in 2002, Frente Arquitectura has completed many residential projects, and has collaborated with such well-known Mexican architects as Derek Dellekamp and Fernando Romero. At the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, the firm presented an intriguing concept that sought to densify Mexico City’s Obrera neighbourhood, by building residential property above existing structures and topping the new development with recreational public space.
What the jury said:
“You look at the outside structure, and you immediately know the inside is basically the skin. There’s nothing else required. I love the sheer simplicity of that gesture.”
– George Yabu, Yabu Pushelberg