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Casas de Vecindad: The Resurgence of Mexico’s Historic Communal Residences

Architizer is thrilled to announce the winners of the eleventh Annual A+Awards! Enthusiastic about taking part subsequent season? Join key details about the twelfth Annual A+Awards, set to launch this fall.

When you’ve ever wandered by way of the labyrinthine streets of Mexico Metropolis or every other Spanish-speaking municipality all over the world, you’ve probably stumbled upon a curious architectural relic: the Casas de Vecindad. These multi-family dwellings, typically constructed round a communal courtyard, have a wealthy and engaging historical past.

You see, these buildings have been the unique co-living areas established many years earlier than Silicon Valley determined to rebrand communal dwelling as a “disruptive innovation.” The Casas de Vecindad have been locations that have been energetic, the place you’d discover your abuela cooking up a feast, youngsters taking part in by way of the day, late into the night time and the place neighbors congregated under strains hung with washing and gossiped prefer it was their full-time job.

The Casas de Vecindad, colloquially often called vecindades, have a storied previous that dates again to the sixteenth century. Mostly, they have been initially grand homes constructed for the elite. Later, these buildings developed to accommodate the working class throughout seismic financial and political shifts as staff flocked to cities for alternatives. Usually comprising a sequence of modest rooms or residences surrounding a communal courtyard or patio, vecindades served because the architectural spine of city life in Mexico and different Spanish-speaking cities.

Through the years, vecindades developed into vibrant hubs the place residents shared not simply partitions but additionally traditions, festivals and cultures. Within the latter half of the twentieth century, with the rise of urbanization and because the notion of household and residential life modified, these communities and their buildings fell into disrepair. Right now, nevertheless, it appears they’re experiencing considerably of a renaissance as architects, city planners and owners rediscover their worth in fostering group dwelling and sustainable design.

Every of the next initiatives borrows from the age-old design ideas of Casas de Vecindad. Whether or not in new constructions or within the adaptive reuse of present buildings, they incorporate important parts typically missing in up to date city settings — group, security and simply accessible shared assets.

Casa Jardin Escandon

By CPDA Arquitectos, Mexico Metropolis, Mexico

Pictures by Jaime Navarro

Casa Jardin Escandon by CPDA Arquitectos is an architectural dialog between previous and current, deeply rooted within the ideas of vecinidades and located in Mexico Metropolis’s evolving Escandón neighborhood. The mission contains fourteen residential models which are organized round a central courtyard and a rear patio, echoing the spatial configurations of conventional vecindades. The patio, populated with native crops, turns into a communal area that fosters interplay, but the positioning of balconies respects particular person privateness.

Whereas the mission’s materials palette of Galarza Stone for the facade is a acutely aware nod to the neighborhood’s architectural heritage, the general design is one that’s trendy and interesting and may be very clearly an exploration of how the age-old ideas of Casas de Vecindad could be reinterpreted to satisfy up to date wants.

Cordoba 223

By BAAQ, Mexico Metropolis, Mexico

Pictures by Edmund Sumner

Initially constructed in 1953, Cordoba 223 was deserted following the devastating earthquakes of 1985 and 2017. BAAQ’s intervention has not solely resurrected the construction but additionally enriched it. Six new volumes have been added atop the unique townhouses, linked by way of a sequence of bridges and corridors. The selection of burned wooden for these additions serves as a visible counterpoint to the unique façade, but it harmonizes with the constructing’s inherent resilience.

The mission’s most poetic contact lies in its therapy of the unique Venetian tiles. Somewhat than changing the broken and lacking items, BAAQ employed a way paying homage to kintsugi — the Japanese artwork of repairing damaged pottery with gold. This not solely preserves the constructing’s historic patina but additionally elevates its imperfections into an artwork type. It’s a design strategy that resonates deeply with the ideas of Casas de Vecindad, the place the worth of group and shared historical past is paramount.

Mar Mediterraneo 34

By Inca Hernandez, Tacuba, Mexico Metropolis, Mexico

Pictures by João Morgado

Mar Mediterraneo 34 stands as a testomony to the adaptive reuse of historic structure, reemploying the ideas of Casas de Vecindad within the conventional approach. Located in Tacuba, a neighborhood wealthy in cultural heritage, the mission breathes new life right into a 1910 eclectic French-style home that was all however deserted. The restoration focuses on preserving the unique parts, resembling carved quarry balconies and iron railings, whereas introducing up to date parts. A putting function is the central patio, the place a brand new quantity rises to border the sky, echoing the central courtyards of conventional vecindades.

The constructing is made up of three ranges and 7 residences, and the clever design provides versatile areas (loft, studio, acquainted condominium and penthouse) that every sympathetically restore the constructing’s previous grandiosity. In Mar Mediterraneo 34, the architects have succeeded in making a legacy mission that not solely revitalizes a historic construction but additionally enriches the city material of Tacuba, aligning with the communal and sustainable ethos of Casas de Vecindad.


By Espacio 18 Arquitectura, Oaxaca, Mexico

Pictures by Camila Cossio

Within the coronary heart of Colonia Reforma, simply 5 minutes from Downtown Oaxaca, Pensamientos Residencial emerges as an architectural response to the challenges of city densification and gentrification. Commissioned by a like-minded actual property company, the mission contains 4 distinct houses, every thoughtfully designed by way of using patios and perforations. These patios function unifying parts among the many residences, fastidiously calibrated to respect daylight patterns and particular person spatial packages.

The mission’s structure is organized throughout three ranges, with every flooring serving a particular operate — social areas on the bottom flooring, secondary rooms and a TV room or examine on the primary degree, and the primary bed room, together with providers on the second degree. Excessive-walled patios at every degree pay homage to conventional Mexican structure, providing versatile areas for the inhabitants. Materials decisions, resembling exterior paste finishes and regionally sourced woods like Huanacaxtle, metal and volcanic stones, are intentionally impartial, permitting residents to personalize their areas.

Dozen Doorways

By gon, Madrid, Spain

Pictures by Imagen Subliminal

Within the coronary heart of Madrid’s multicultural Tetuán neighborhood, Dozen Doorways is an instance of how the Casas de Vecindad idea could be reimagined for the fashionable period — to turn into housing for the scholar inhabitants.

The coed housing mission is a change of an early Twenty first-century single-family dwelling right into a co-living area for twelve college students. The constructing provides each communal and personal areas which are organized round a strategically positioned central staircase. This design selection echoes the historic Casas de Vecindad, the place a central courtyard typically served because the nucleus of group interactions — the structure is a nuanced mix of shared assets and particular person areas, very similar to the vecindades, which traditionally offered inexpensive housing with shared facilities.

Dozen Doorways takes this a step additional by incorporating modern-day communal areas resembling a video games room, communal kitchen and south-facing terraces that overlook the Madrid skyline. These areas are designed to be versatile, facilitating interactions and social dialogue, thereby enriching the group. The personal rooms, though compact, are thoughtfully designed to incorporate all important parts for hygiene, relaxation and work. By way of its design and social intent, Dozen Doorways revitalizes the age-old idea of shared dwelling, making it related for at this time’s pupil inhabitants whereas contributing to the social cohesion of its surrounding group.

Architizer is thrilled to announce the winners of the eleventh Annual A+Awards! Enthusiastic about taking part subsequent season? Join key details about the twelfth Annual A+Awards, set to launch this fall.


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