Liverpool, a major retailer, has commissioned different architects to design the facades of its new stores. Each store is a personal interpretation. We were commissioned to design a round-plan store on the corner of a shopping center.
The project is at the entrance of Toluca City, in an industrial area of large metallic boxes on the Paseo Tollocan. It is a place that lacks human scale and cars travel incessantly above 80 km/h. We thought that the best strategy was a very simple building that coauld be understandable at a glance. We opted to regularize the original curved shape of the volume and hide a series of steps and breaks to obtain a continuous figure. We wanted to establish a contrast with the industrial architecture of the site, by designing a curved and soft form and by using a warm material. The shape evokes a wavy basket that results from twisting the lid and base of a 120 x 25 m cylinder in opposite directions. The rotation creates a vortex that creates an undulation in the surface by alternating tense diagonals that flatten and relaxed areas that create waves. This way, we obtained a façade with double curvature using simple flat stripes of flexible material. This trick allows a simple and error free construction procedure.
The store required to have no windows, so there are only two perforations in the facade: the main entrance and a roof garden on part of the top floor. The entrance is a section of an elliptical cone that evokes an aluminium cave that gives dramatic depth to act of entering and at the same time it dialogues with the curved facade. For the terrace, we left a large slot devoid of tablets that allows the views of the hilly landscape and the Nevado de Toluca, a grand volcano. The curved facade can be very dynamic that is able to dialogue with the road. To reinforce it, we arranged a series of illuminated and stratified horizontal grooves at different levels. The grooves at each level have different sizes and rhythms. The result relates to the white lines of the road and speeding car lights, as a means of integration and recognition of its context. The building system was designed for maximum simplicity and to avoid execution errors, while complying with a very tight budget. It consists of double-curved vertical frames and three-dimensionally adjustable connectors, designed specifically to ensure the verticality of the tablets, which is a fundamental condition in the geometry of the design. The color-changing illumination produces an interesting effect when the facade is painted dark blue and shiny light stripes. It mimics the highway in a rainy night.
1. Curved façade: Fundermax panels
2. Lower and upper façade: Ferrari textile
3. Façade frames: Galvanized steel rods
4. Main entrance: Alucobond
5. Base: Black aluminium panels