The residence of the Swiss Ambassador is an urban retreat in Mexico City
This minimalist urban retreat is the residence of the Swiss Ambassador to Mexico City
Lausanne architects Fruehauf, Henry & Viladoms (FHV) and Mexico City studio Blancasmoran have redesigned the Swiss Ambassador’s residence in Mexico City into a minimalist urban retreat
Located on a tree-lined street in Mexico City’s Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood, this striking monolithic concrete design is the residence of the Swiss Ambassador to Mexico. The majestic – albeit somewhat enigmatic – volume has been recently renovated and redesigned by Lausanne architects Fruehauf, Henry & Viladoms (FHV) and the Mexico City Blancasmoran studio. The minimalist architecture of the urban retreat is inspired by the topography and residential identity of the site and the wider area.
Set in a relatively narrow and elongated plot, the reshaped form of the residence is defined by the neighboring structures as well as the footprint of the existing house on site, which the team respected. The new house is set on a plinth and designed in thick concrete walls, creating a physical and acoustic distance from the street – as the architects treated the residence as a quiet domestic retreat, away from the noise of the street.
“This feeling of calm is reinforced by the omnipresence of the plant element”, declares the architectural team, pointing to the gardens, the planted courtyards and the interior greenery throughout. “On the avenue side, the wall becomes a facade. A horizontal folding gives it an austere, intriguing and sophisticated presence. ‘
Inside, concrete meets light gray terrazzo floors in a graceful, clean interior. The black granite blocks contain service spaces, visually separated from the concrete slabs of the main living spaces. Large hinged doors in eucalyptus wood separate the different spaces. Harder, minimalist surfaces are juxtaposed with greenery everywhere, inside and out, balancing nature and architecture.
Large glazed areas visually connect the house to its surroundings, while at the rear, cascading terraces lead residents out of the house and through the gently sloping urban gardens to the ravine at the far end of the site. “The topography is a geographic element that strongly defines the site. The neighborhood’s ravines create natural wooded corridors ”, specify the architects, who skilfully juxtaposed the softness of this landscape with a strong and clearly defined volume in this renovation project. §