Category: Offices
Region: Mexico
Year: 1968
FT2 Construction: 49,514 sq ft
FT2 Ground: 0 sq ft
Involved Areas: Architecture

Ricardo Legorreta
Carlos Vargas Senior
Noé Castro
Carlos Hernández
Ramiro Alatorre
Roberto Jean


Contractor: Ingenieros y Contratistas, S.A.
Structural Design: Dr. Leonardo Zeevaert


© Colección Legorreta
Ma. Dolores Robles - Martínez

It is undoubtful that the office building in a great city is one characteristic of the architectural problems of our epoch which demands specific conditions regarding height, lightning projection, ventilation and in particular, flexibility of the most ample adapting possibilities the architect can conceive. This last one is of great importance in our case; We are dealing with a building occupied by one company With both, the interdepartmental relations and the specific growth of each department add to problems of flexibility and communication. once the problem was under study, a solution for solving these difficulties basing ourselves on the plant, structure, window placement, installations, etc, was being searched. Responding to a basic and integral concept based on all aspects. The initial search was of a ”continuous building” that would permit the proprieters to modify and add their interior distribution without the limitations of a conventional plant. Given that the terrain did not permit sufficient space to project plants of great surface, it was necessary for these plants, although small (400 sq. mts.), to have great flexibility. Naturally, these presented a serious problem since a continuous building is desired as a ramp. Something that seens impossible in reference to the accommodation of furniture and the destination of premises. From here, the idea of having mezzanine floors evolutionized. Even at that, the flexibility was not complete as wished; arriving finally to sections of floors wich stairs of small 90 cm. differences between them. This took us to a division of 4 platforms which differences give the. Height of one floor. This solution resolves the distribution and flexibility problem in a more ample manner than that of a conventional building although it caused structural problems of extreme complexity for the continuities of the resisting elements. Let us then remember a project which we had developed with Dr. Leonard Zeevaert of a suspended building. He did not construct analyzing the. Possibility of applying our solution since the system of suspending the floor seemed somewhat illogical than having the floors in conventional levels. In this case the solution solves the problems of the stepped platforms. Analyzing the problem with Dr. Zeevaert, we find that the suspension of floor by beans and metallic structure did not demand continuity in the structural element of the slabs and would not permit placing the height desired without counting on columns within the floors, concentrating on services and principal structural supports in the central nucleus. It offered us the enormous advantage of counting on the space and inferior plants, free of the building. This gave dominance .and interest at the entrance. Once the basic problem was solved, the study of the structure in detail; the distribution and proportion 01 the plant took us to a central nucleus of concrete combined with steel turnbuckles which are suspended and are supported by metal beams and concrete slabs at each level. With these solutions, the structural part. Did not present any larger problems and the development could go on. Another aspect which had to be considered was the plastic treatment of the building and the search for an integral solution of the differences between the platforms in an evident way. This has required an exhaustive study, meditation and analysis even during the construction period of tk1e building, .arriving to the decision of modifying radically the initial concepts. Briefly, I will expose the evolution fo this concept: is vas initiated considering the 4 glass facades but in this way the structure was clearly seen buy differences of level presented troubles of solar exposition ot the different orientations. The next solution was using crystal frames in the zones of the turnbuckles closing in with walls, resulting great savings on the cost of the façade, more clarity in the expression of the structure but still not showing the stepped platform. During the construction, it was evident that the concrete was the basic theme of the project and it was how we decided to eliminate all the coatings of the centra nucleus, giving in tha way a finishing of great strength and texture to the concrete exposed. We are also vere impressed with the grandstand of steel for the construction othe superior framework, which was undoubtedly an expression of the constructive system. On the other hand, by having different platforms already placed, we found that the ones with the better views and the more interest for each one were precisely the ones that did not have turnbuckles and the railings of concrete which limit each one of the platforms that indicate perfectly the structural concept.