Cultural Center


PROGRAM: Space for cultural events, Single house
LOCATION: La Manzanilla - mexico
AREA: 260 sqm
CLIENT: La Semilla de los Ingenios
STATUT: Competition Entry


When we see the project’s site and its surroundings, the mountains, the hills, the forests, the will to leave the landscape untouched seizes us. Nature, so ingenious and beautiful, is expressed perfectly.
Any new intervention can only alter this tranquillity, this balance. However, human intervention should take place, even in this fragile environment.

The project is in the idea of respect and integration. The idea is to imagine a building that gives the feeling that "it was already there." The feeling that its presence is not new, but completely integrated, not only physically but also in time. The project stems from: a strange monolith built in earth placed on the top of the hill as if to dominate the landscape, such an ancient temple. It is about giving the cultural center a mystical, or even religious impact.

The walls are completely opaque and are not interrupted by any opening. The lighting is zenithal from the periphery of the roof, making it seems detached from the rest of the building. Inside, the visitors are cut off from the outside and the view of the surrounding. The idea is to move from confinement to opening: the terrace is the only place where you can enjoy the view outdoors. It is not only about looking through a window, but living the Nature and being in contact whit it.

The organic shape of the plan is the result of two ellipses inscribed in a square of 13x13 sq. meters along a north-south axis. Other soft curves define the access to the center, to the terrace and the basement.

The roof is supported by a wooden structure, consolidated by walls built using the technique of rammed earth. The choice of these two local materials is motivated by the ecological and environmental approach of the project. The choice of earth as construction material is also motivated by its durability, thermal and sound insulation proprieties, eliminating any additional insulation works.

Moreover, the truncated roof, facing south with an inclination of 25 ° will receive photovoltaic panels that will provide the electricity needs of the cultural center. A tank is fitted in the basement and will collect rainwater that can be used for plumbing fixtures.

The discovery of the cultural center is made through a path in which three means of vertical circulation are used: First, a ramp, which is the most suitable for paintings and artworks. At the end of it, a ladder allows access to the terrace. It is an unusual structure, a note fun amid the solemn building. Finally, from the terrace, wooden slats stairs stuck in the compacted earth allow to reach the ground.

Project team: hk+b Architecture
Visualisations: hk+b Rendering

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