Mexican architecture studio Hemaa has renovated a 1950s residence in Mexico City designed by modernist Mexican architect Augusto H Álvarez. Local studio Hemaa based its renovation of Sierra Negra, which has undergone a number of remodels since it was first built by Álavrez, on the Mexican architect’s original plans.
“We decided to align our proposal to the base grid plan of this construction, which assembles the distribution of spaces around four structural axes every four meters,” said the studio. A clean volume was proposed with large glass windows facing the garden and a facade facing the street that would provide security and privacy to the project.
The different levels of the volume mark the sequence of privacy in the spaces of the house. It is accessed on the ground floor from the street through a dimly lit entrance hall, which creates a sculptural effect of dark light through openings with vertical lines on the entrance door, which, crossing it, drift into the living room and dining room that, in turn, connect with kitchen and library. The four bedrooms and the family room are located on the second level. The third floor offers a space dedicated to well-being, which is extended with a large outdoor terrace.
The aim was to evoke the features of modern architecture from the mid-twentieth century through materiality, the exaltation of order and structural elements. The configuration of the spaces seeks the constant perception of openness and connection with the immediate natural context.
The exterior of the project was covered with a dark gray stucco that emphasizes its tectonic and monolithic condition. The interior design derives from generating a contrast against the solidity of the gray stucco, the blacksmithing and the use of stone outside, complemented by the warmth and naturalness generated by the predominance of oak wood, the white finish of the walls and the lighting. indirect to the interior that softens contrasts and neutralizes light, making spaces feel relaxed, fresh and natural.
The round columns in the middle of the main common area, in addition to be a structural element, are an aesthetic gesture – which refers us to the functionalism of the 1950s – that implicitly divides the dining room. This, incorporated with the vegetation of the garden, creates an atmosphere of tranquility and comfort over the house, which preserves and enhances the neutrality of the project in every aspect.
The choice of furniture and lighting pieces were selected mainly seeking an evocation of the modernist movement of the mid-20th century, with a tonal palette that served to maintain the impartiality of the whole. Thus, furniture covered with fabric in gray and white tones that incorporate wood in tones similar to those prevalent in the space was chosen, a dark marble table accompanied by two Louis Poulsen suspended luminaires that cover, unify and give identity to the dining room, finishing off with a guest bathroom; the only place inside the house that bets on the gloom generated by the choice of materials — a green marble complemented by very dim lighting fixtures — that dramatize the spatial quality and invite you to discover the space.
The final functionality is consistent with the modulation of the spaces that is perceived from the façade, thus generating an X-ray of the living space of the house that is transformed with the different moments of the day through reflections and transparencies, softening the boundaries between the interior and exterior of the project.