Mexican architect Arquitectura en Proceso has completed the Darcons Headquarters in suburbs of Delicias City in the Chihuahua state of Mexico.
+ Project description courtesy of Arquitectura en Proceso
The site is located at a suburban lot of a middle size city in northern Mexico. As one drives towards it and away from de city, the building appears aligned with the road as an arched gate of a medieval town: looking through it one gets the scenery of the rural fields that surround the city.
The building was conceived as a frame that captures part of the landscape and at the same time defines a plane that divides the intercity from the suburbs. The skin of the building plays a dual role: on one hand it is the transparent material that allows the view through it, and on the other hand, it is the opaque continuous skin that defines the shape of the frame and protects the interior from solar irradiance.
This skin was manipulated in order to differentiate the public space from the internal activities of the company: the main reception and the costumer rooms are outside the envelope raised above the ground as a Piano Nobile and organized as self defined entities. The operation space is contained within the envelope and flows throughout the building in a three dimensional open plan that honors the hierarchical organization of the company. In order to solve the continuity of the circulation the mass of the building was divided in various transversal slices, each presenting an intentionally different profile and two of them defining the geometry of the north and south elevations. The sequential juncture of all the slices creates deviations and convergences between the internal operational route and the external costumer route.
The geometry of the volume is shaped according to a juxtaposition of three rotated orthogonal axis structures. This was primarily done in an effort to recreate the space complexity produced by a urban grid designed in the style of the 18th century. The west elevation also benefits from the rotated planes by casting shades onto itself and minimizing direct sun exposure.
The rule was meant to be broken at the main entrance where the opaque skin suddenly sift direction to frame a cantilevered volume that flies above the portico. This creates a gesture of urban scale to emphasize the hierarchy of the entrance and contain the atrium of the building prior to the stair flight.
We start designing in order to respond to the needs of the company by generating a flowing diagram according to the architectural program, starting by separating the private and working areas of the building and the public spaces, generating a dual flow. This was possible by the creation of a stripe that bifurcate and generates the continuo’s space thru all the levels of the building, this design element let us give the functional and formal solution to the project, but not only this was solve by this element, the solar issues to the most critical façades of the building was also solved by letting this fly out side of the boundaries of the glass façade, giving shade to those spaces that needed the most. Having this problem solved the next issue to solve was the engineering’s involved, according to the shape and thickness of the stripe.
First the wrapping skin of the building, considering our geographical situation to think in fancy materials is not the problem, but to get them is question of high cost. Considering the aluminum panel as a material that has about thirteen years in the Mexican market we thought this could help us solved the skin having in mind that this is a flexible material that also let us design a skin in a rhomboidal form without having to much waste of it, but the problem was not solve yet, this material it can’t be installed on the floor so we start generating strategies to cut the incidence of this on the floor areas by using a second inside skin that shapes the outside form of the stripe in the façades formed by Porcelain floors and cement board at the out side walls. Same process to solve the interior; floors, walls and ceilings were determinate by giving continuity to the wrapping space.
+ Project credits / data
Project Name: Darcons Headquarters
Location: Delicias City, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Use: Office Building
Size: 15,134 Sq ft.
Design Period: 2005
Completion Period: 2008
Design Office: Arquitectura en Proceso
Chief Architect: Jorge Cajiga, Raúl Rodríguez, Roberto Villarreal, Reyes Baeza
Client: Darcons Construction Company
Structural Design: Estructuristas y Consultores
Project Managment: Urbanismo y Edificación Mexicana
Structural Engineering: EASA construcciones
Photography: Francisco Lubbert, Jorge Cajiga