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THREADS | Mexico City, Mexico | 2016

THREADS | Mexico City, Mexico | 2016

Architects: Belzberg Architects
Associate Architects: Grupo Anima
Client: Grupo Anima
General Contractor: Grupo Anima
Photographers: Roland Halbe

Façades are often thought of as an exterior skin.

However, Threads, a new low-rise commercial office building in Mexico City, features a fluid, habitable façade that moves inside and out of the building.

Distinguished by a series of sinuous vertical elements that appear to penetrate the six-story curtain wall, these “fins” dissolve the solidity of the building envelop, shape interior and exterior niches, and add depth and movement to the façade’s fixed plane.

Now the Mexican headquarters of the French premium spirits and wine company Pernod Ricard, the prominent corner siting of Threads prompted us to explore the function and form of its two street-facing elevations.

The building sits atop a story of street-level parking and rises above the adjacent one-way vehicular ramp, revealing its undulating façade upon approach.

Gray, laminated glazing with a low-E coating was also employed to reduce heat gain and affects the visibility of the interior over the course of the day, further elevating the dynamism of the building’s presence to users and on the street.

By pushing the elevator, stairs, and restrooms to one edge of the building we freed the plan, allowing flexibility in layout and maximizing unobstructed views to the street and city beyond. As a result, the building’s edges—in particular, the ones facing outward to the city—play a significant role in defining the experience spatially.

Using digital design tools, digital fabrication techniques, and collaborating closely with our inter-disciplinary team, we created 272 unique, three-dimensionally curving aluminum fins that attach to the glazing and concrete slabs.

Their triangular geometry allows, among other things, for the welded forms to achieve the desired curvature without additional jigs or mold.

These elements, each spanning one story, required precision during installation to achieve alignment and visual continuity.

Their arrangement, which varies from floor to floor, creates unique spatial opportunities on each level.

At times, they demarcate interior spaces such as offices and meeting rooms; at others, they provide more informal spaces including communal balconies and lounge areas.

In a single vertical move, these expressive forms shape one-meter deep balconies and carve out alcoves on the interior as they appear to cross the building envelop.

The architects used the movement of fins across the building envelop to create a visual language that conveys a new depth in the façade —a depth of plane that is inherently tied to the overall spatial experience of Threads.




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