The Architecture League of New York has picked the winners of its annual Emerging Voices Awards. Each the year the League chooses eight practitioners from the United States, Canada, and Mexico through an invited, juried portfolio competition. This year’s winners include three firms from Mexico. The rest are based on the East Coast of the U.S. The winners will be giving
This philosophy has produced a body of work that feels progressive, yet rooted in the indigenous landscape of Mexico. Many of the studio’s projects have been local, and whether a single-family residential dwelling or a corporate campus, Guerrero and Soto take into consideration the specific climate, topography, and vegetation of the region, maximizing access to natural resources and to the outdoors. “We always like to create projects that relate to nature,” said Soto. “Somehow we want the architecture to be surrounded by greenery.”
This is evident in projects such as the House and Studio in Mar Chapálico in western Mexico. Next to a lake and surrounded by mountains, the house was designed to be reminiscent of and respond to the natural ecological “cycle of the site.” The roofs collect rainwater, which then trickle down to the pavement of a reflecting pool in the front of the house. A larger planter sitting next to the reflecting pool, along with gardens in the rear, encircle the interior and create lush greenery. Melding modern techniques with local craftsmanship, Guerrero and Soto tapped a local fisherman to weave a lattice facade, made with branches from a Palo dulce tree, for the southern facade, to mitigate solar radiation and allow privacy. The stonewall, surrounding the front side, was made by a local stonemason who drew inspiration from the pavements found on the island of Mezcala where a jail used to be located.
ARSº is currently at work on a sprawling complex for Novasem, a Mexican company that produces corn products, in Acatlán de Juárez, Jalisco, México. Already under construction, the project, which is located in the countryside, includes dwellings for the workers made of stone, exposed concrete walls, and steel; twin barns for the production of corn, featuring Corten steel panels; a laboratory clad in black exposed brick; an office (not built yet), and warehouses. A material palette, using stone, concrete, steel, and brick, creates a thread between the separate structures, while landscaping with open space and parks will serve to unify the campus. “We wanted to be respectful of the land and context, but while making contemporary architecture,” said Soto.