2013 BOY Winner: Mixed Retail

PROJECT NAME Centro Cultural Elena Garro
LOCATION Mexico City
FIRM Arquitectura 911SC; Fernanda Canales
SQ. FT. 14,600 SQF

It was a challenge enough for the team of Saidee Springall and Jose Castillo, principals of , and 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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