The main detonator of the building process was the absolute and urgent need to preserve all the documentary materials showing the richness of Oaxaca´s heritage, which was scattered in many places and on the brink of destruction. As a result the process that is carried out to take care of these documents guides, in a way, the architectural design as well; the project unravels around the complex control any incoming document must complete. It must be selected, analysed, organized, and catalogued after its due restoration. All these specialized tasks and its associated needs must be harboured by the building.
? The “Parque de las Canteras” (“Quarry Park”), as it is known by Oaxaca’s people, is a highly symbolic site, since most of the Green Stone that built the city of Oaxaca was extracted from this quarry. This fact enriches the site and makes the architectural challenge more transcendent, as the need of connecting the building with the unique site materiality and the new use to the old symbolic one, arises.
A key challenge constituted the use that the building was called to accommodate, a historical archive. The need of the private and public activities to coexist but not to interfere with each other was one of the main goals. Thus, the fist level refers to the public activity and the higher levels are destined for the specialized activities proper to the archive. A long pedestrian passage runs the main building and engages the user with the archival activity. At the same time, external passages at the upper levels facilitate the movement and the communication of the individual departments. As a result the communication of public and private is indirect and mostly achieved through visual communication in the points of intersection, openings and viewpoints.
A catalytic role played the topology of the place, as well, which demanded different heights and special handling, leading to a four level construction. The pedestrian passage which already referred, follows the pre-existing topology, connects the two entrances of the building and creates a topographic jump of four meters. The intention of these two levels of entry is for the building to be closely linked to the park’s topography, and include the passage to the network of pedestrian routes winding through the park.
As mentioned above, the materiality of the site is a reference point, as it is strongly connected with Oaxaca´s heritage and historical background. This connection is highlighted through the main construction material. The concrete-finished walls, in ochre colour, are a result of the sand and pigments used in the concrete mixture. This idea constitutes an alternative translation of traditional architectural techniques, using adobe and pigments of the site as a raw construction material. Oaxaca’s Architecture talks about the importance of the wall, light and shadows. The chiaroscuro is manifested in the building volumes, the sequence of courtyards and patios, as well as in the details. Thin metal cross-sections, breathing transparencies and design strategies which follow pre-existing vegetation, masterfully complete this contemporary piece of architecture.
Facade cladding: Reinforced concrete with natural pigments, CEMEX
Flooring: Cement, volcanic stone, artificial tiles, INTERCERAMIC
Doors: Iron, IROKO wood, Custom made
Windows: Iron, Glass, Custom made
Roofing: Reinforced concrete with natural pigments, CEMEX
Interior lighting: Iron, ERCO
Interior furniture: Metal, wood, Designer: Yurik Kifuri
Bathrooms: Concrete, wood, metal, KOLER