Pérez Palacios arquitectos: Casa Octavia in Mexico City
Casa Octavia in Mexico City is a hybrid project intended to be used as a hotel, but with spaces and an interior layout that also allow for other uses. Octavia, a Mexican fashion brand for young women in basic minimalist style, seeks to expand into the hospitality market while exploring new ways to promote and distribute its clothing to the city’s public. It does so with the participation of PPAA Pérez Palacios arquitectos asociados, commissioned to design a new construction on Avenida Amatlan, in the Hipodromo Condesa district.
This residential neighborhood features a grid of tree-lined avenues and pedestrian paths in a central part of the Mexican capital teeming with small fashion boutiques, nightclubs, bookstores and cafes that have become something of an attraction tourism in recent years. Renovated buildings from the early 20th century now alternate with new dwellings for younger generations, built where older buildings have been demolished.
Avenida Amatlan presents a succession of small buildings of only one or two floors, built in different decades. The street does not have a unified style or color palette, but, like other streets in the neighborhood, it is distinguished by its decorum and presence of greenery.
the pedestrian dimension of the neighborhood is what encouraged Octavia to open here, in a new building that maintains on the same scale as the neighborhoodwith a facade design and ground floor spaces favoring urban and social encounters.
The site on which PPAA Pérez Palacios arquitectos asociados worked is a long, narrow rectangular piece of land with a single free wall, sandwiched between adjacent buildings on the other three sides. It was therefore necessary to make the most of the single exterior wall of the building, by transforming it into a glazed interface, masked right through by a wooden sun shade with a vertical orientation. The wall of Avenida Amatlan is geometric, composed of three cords and pillars corresponding to the interior volumes; the brise-soleil superimposes another much denser grid on top of this concrete one. Architects prefer a minimalist vocabularyin line with Octavia’s brand image.
The wide pedestrian passage between the entrance and the street is organized like a piece of courtyard inside, reserving the green space for local plants in the ground or in pots. The entrance is distinguished by the deep cantilever of the metal canopy, a simple sheet of metal consistent with the linear façade. What is unusual about the building is variety of different configurations allowed on the ground floor, where the skylights and sunshades on rails allow the opening to be modulated according to the opportunities in relation to the street. Similarly, the atrium, with its comfortable curved wall, a few seats and tables, and an exhibition area, is designed to be not just the hotel lobby but a showroom to display fashion and a small shop. Extending into the inner courtyard, it can also become a café, a place of contemplation for passers-by, a connection point and, with its fully open configuration, a detour while strolling through the city.
In accordance with this concept of unbuilt and indeterminate space, the interiors are organized around a large empty space, a courtyard surrounded by high walls in direct relation with the outside world on the ground floor. The position of the pillars visible on the facade identifies the interior layout of the volumes beyond the atrium: the central body of the hotel, a smaller walkway to the east and the courtyard to the west. The seven rooms and suites of the hotel are arranged on the side of the building facing the street and the back, so that they all have some form of access to the outside and the greenery.
A lot of light enters through the brise-soleils and the windows of the main facade, while natural ventilation is favored by the exchange with the balconies of the interior wall, overlooking the courtyard.
Particular attention has been paid to the design of the interiors, drawing inspiration from the personality of the Octavia brand, combined with fresh, elegant and welcoming spaces. This atmosphere is transferred by creating contrasts between the common spaces of the atrium and patio and the private spaces of the suites. This difference is evident in the yard, where the two material idioms come together: raw walls and raw surfaces on one side, perfection and attention to detail on the other. The color palette includes a variety of ocher and gray hues, accentuated as the light changes during the day. The colors of wood and wicker, used to make all the furniture inside the hotel, combine with the lush green plants to create an atmosphere of home.
Architects: PPAA Pérez Palacios arquitectos Asociados
Pablo Perez Palacios + Alfonso de la Concha Rojas, Miguel Vargas, Jorge Quiroga, Hermann Tamayo
Location: Condesa, Mexico
Year of completion: 2020
Built area: 340 m²
Photos by: Maureen M. Evans (02-08, 20-22) / Luis Garvan (01, 17-19) / Luis Young (09-16)