Intermediating the alluring frame of “Cerro de La Silla” mountain in Monterrey, Mexico, the mural clad ‘Transparente the Rectoria’ breathes in openness. The non-profit campus never fails to adapt to the future with infinite harmonious extensions. Fringing at a roundabout, this cultural venue is a remodeled dynamic structure erected authoritatively yet humbly surrendering to perpetual changes. The magnanimous volume of the primary facade projects an iconic figure escalating to a futuristic ideology. An institutional building is pampered as a cultural project.

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Transparente the Rectoria and Cerro de la Silla mountains in the backdrop _©Juan Hernandez.
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Old Plaza_©Technologico de Monterrey.
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Mural on the west facade of the Rectoria_©Paco Alvarez.
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The Rectoria before remodelling_©Paco Alvarez.

A seamless approach

The public plaza ushers visitors from the roundabout on the west. Two water ponds at the end of the plaza reflect the six slender cylindric equidistant columns holding the crowned volume departing the lower carcass. The cavity on the lower level tears transparency into the symmetrical arrangement of the double-height lobby space. The stairways in the lobby space dissect in opposite directions towards a mural sitting at each mid-landing. The columns are disguised as independent columns untouched by the slab above breaking the masculinity of the administrative building. The delicacy of glass as an element to give a porous vision is an attempt to make the structure humble and approachable.

Subject to change

The Rectorium’s thirst for modernization craved the successive extensions causing functional disharmony. The rigidity in the material choice initially displayed the building as defensive. The interior spaces in the basement are handicapped by artificial lumination. Circulation was not adherent to the recent standards causing unintentional ignorance of the visitors to the rare exotic collection of Cervantina library. The underused central hall on the highest floor longed for civic partitions.

The approach to remodeling reckoned the design in tandem with:

– the historic sentiments of the Murals, an archeological sensitivity towards the elements of the past. 

– Simplified circulation spaces to catalyze social mobility and communication. 

– An increase in natural light for the scaled spaces.  

– To rekindle the plaza space to highlight the journey towards the institution. 

The language of the remodeled structure displays an adaptive solution to a futuristic approach, ideas, and vision.

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Rectoria’s remodeled interior Axometric view _©Archello.
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The Renovated zone Rectoria’s interior _©Archello.
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The central skylight on the terrace illuminates Rectoria’s interior _©Archello.

The remake

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Amphitheater at the basement of the north and south side _©Archello.

Levels and zones

The ground floor has a forum that accommodates 60 participants in the space diving into the basement. The basement is utilized to train university teaching staff and for encouraging innovation in education. The Sala Mayor, an arrangement to conduct talks and presentations for  320 public figures is revived with additional meeting spaces on the second level. The Waffle-like 108 modules of  Barrisol ceiling bring in an innovative atmosphere.  Cervantes library shares its rare books on the third floor readily with the visitors. Intentionally placed pocket spaces behave as a setting for collaboration and the exchange of ideas. The fourth floor houses individual working stations. The highest level opens into the outside to interact with nature to relax and calm users. 

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North slope _©Kratos Edificaciones.
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Lecture area diving into the basement_©Cuatro44.
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Lounge area followed by the plight of stairs from the main lobby area _©Cuatro44.

Triumph of heritage

The restored historic evidence of culture and art held preserved within the Rectorium, are the celebrated backdrops for the futuristic journey of the recovered institution. The Venetian mosaic murals measuring 4m x 3m at the mid landings – the Microcosm and the Macrocosmos(1953), and the facade “ Struggle and victory of Quetzalcoatl on Tezcatlipoca or The triumph of Culture (1952 – 1954) are craftsmanship of Artist Jorge Gonzalez Camarena. The microcosm – exhibits the emergence of life on earth from its roots and atmosphere. Celebrating the adaptation of lives on earth through a human at the center evolved manifesting civilization to its current future. The Macrocosmos – The sun amidst the cosmos, surrounds the universe as a bearer of life.

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Macrocosmos mural on left mid-landing _©DistroTec.
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Microcosm mural on left mid-landing _©DistroTec.
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Barrisol ceiling for Sala Mayor_©Kratos Edificaciones.
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Reception at the third level _©Kratos Edificaciones.
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Office booths on third level _©Kratos Edificaciones.
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Office on third level _©Kratos Edificaciones.

A seamless approach

The Institute is culturally doting. The overly welcoming entrance sets a serene atmosphere of nurture and growth for the working and learning mass. The spaces for discussion and interaction have a flavor of informality in terms of materials and feelings. The vibrant murals at the mid-landing set a thirst for being different and innovative. The faint fabric ceiling at Sala Mayor swallows the double-height space seamlessly giving a meditative ambiance. The timber flooring gives a natural touch to learning. The co-working spaces on the perimeter of the building have an array of banded window punctures within a rectangular frame on the north-south facade, a choice to bring natural light instead of an artificial setting that brings less harm to the working environment and the natural environment. The skylights on the topmost floor are surrounded by a viewing gallery for leisure activities tainted by the rich mountains in the background.

Glass is the primary addition introduced to coincide spaces, a material of the future. The change in future trends will likely mark its way into the structure in the forthcoming time. The tight arrangement of the design has left minimum voids for an unknown future demand for the institute that constantly adapts to changes. This absence of foresight may catalyze disharmony and lack of cohesion within the remodeled edifice.

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Terrace north view_©Kratos Edificaciones.
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Terrace north view_©Kratos Edificaciones.
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Banded Windows on the north facade_© Paco Alvarez.

Project Credits

Architects- FGP Atelier
Associate Architects- ODA Architecture, NY
Lighting consultant- Arup London
Landscape consultant- Claudia Harari
Manufacturers-
Metal Cladding – ALPOLIC, Metal composites materials
Wood Ceiling – Rulon International
Stretched Fabric Ceiling – Barrisol-Normalu Sas
Glass Facade- Cristacurva
Wood Floor – Grato
Terrazo Floor- Terrazzo and marble supply.

References:

  1. Jueves. (2020).Available at: https://distritotec.itesm.mx/rectoria-transparente/ [Accessed: 20 April 2022].
  2. Gonzalez M. (2020).Technologico de Monterrey.Conecta. Available at : https://conecta.tec.mx/es/noticias/monterrey/institucion/tiene-edificio-de-rectoria-del-tec-innovacion-y-transparencia. [Accessed: 30th April].
  3. Districtotec.(2020).Transformacion de Rectoria.[YouTube video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I50Q8uQsvSM [Accessed 01 May 2022].
  4. Archello.(2022) Tranparente-FGP Atelier.[online] Available at: https://archello.com/project/transparente [Accessed 01 May 2022].
  5. DistroTec. (2020).[Instagram]. Uploaded 28 August 2020. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B8z3-OHB8e2/?utm_medium=copy_link
  6. DistroTec(2020). Rectory. Campus evolution. Available at: https://distritotec.itesm.mx/proyectos/rectoria/ [Accessed 03 May 2020].
  7. Cuatro 44 Design.Rectoria Tec De Monterrey. Corporate interior Design. Available at : http://www.cuatro44.com/servicios/diseno?lang=eng [Accessed 03 May 2022].
  8. Technologica de Monterrey(2020). Cultural Heritage. Microcosm Available at: https://colecciones-patrimonio-cultural.tec.mx/obra/142684/Microcosmos [Accessed 03 May 2022].
  9. Technologica de Monterrey(2020). Cultural Heritage. Microcosm Available at: https://colecciones-patrimonio-cultural.tec.mx/obra/142683/Macrocosmos [Accessed 03 May 2022].
  10. Bogolio.L (2009). Flickr. Mural de Rectoria. Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/argote/4182867999/in/photostream/ [Accessed 06 May 2022].
Author

Nikita believes in constantly feeding all her curiosity by learning, unlearning and relearning. Being deeply passionate about trying things first hand, nothing thrills her more than adventures and new experiences refusing to missing out things in life. When in her me time she enjoys reading fictions and expresses through poems.

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