Mini-Studio in Mexico City, Mexico by FRENTEarquitectura, 2011
Behind a house in a middle-income section of Mexico City sat a storage shed, surrounded on three side by neighboring buildings. Into this gap FRENTEarquitectura inserted an art studio of only 27 square meters (290 square feet). The petite intervention appears jewel-like in its setting, a faceted object new and white.
Given that the building is intended as an art studio, minimizing direct sunlight is of the utmost importance. This consideration is aggravated by the fact that the studio faces the yard to the south. Therefore FRENTEarquitectura cantilevered the upper floor of the two-story volume, allowing the projection to shade the ground-floor space. Further, a skylight created by the folds of the roof channels northern light into the space.
Using trapezoidal shapes and with a careful control of perspective, vanishing points are emphasized, achieving a dynamic and fluid space that awakens imagination while stimulating creativity. -FRENTEarquitecturaBeyond considerations of daylighting, the design does a couple other major things: sliding glass doors on the ground floor link the studio with the yard, in effect extending the room for art to the outdoors (ideal for arts like pottery); and treating the second floor as a mezzanine creates a double-height space that is tied to sunlight but also the ability to craft large-scale artworks. The trapezoidal shapes lead to a space that even more complex than the site and exterior form would otherwise infer.
Of the images presented here, the construction sequence is most telling: It illustrates the tight space that the studio is inserted into and the difficulty in building in such a space. The brick and concrete construction is fairly traditional and inexpensive for the area, and given the confines of the rear yard, it's certainly more advantageous to work with bricks rather than steel beams and columns. It's a remarkable design that gives hope for people wishing to transform small spaces on a small budget.
Photographs are by Onnis Luque.