First LEED Platinum building in Mexico flooded with light through saw-edged roof
Brooks + Scarpa has released details of a new research lab and office space that is anticipated to be Mexico’s first new construction LEED Platinum building. The site is a 100,000 sq ft vacant parcel located within a new Research and Technology Innovation Park developed by the Mexican government. The site is also adjacent to the Monterrey, Mexico airport and adjoins a natural habitat area.
The first phase of the project encompasses a total of 15,500 sq ft, including 5,500 sq ft of office space and 11,000 sq ft of research labs and warehouse space for testing and developing prototypes. The second phase consists of an additional 5,500 sq ft of office space and 34,000 sq ft of research labs and warehouse space. The approach to this project was to preserve the integrity of a high bay industrial facility and program, while providing a model environment for the users and visitors.
A saw-toothed roof draws from the geometry of old factories and the surrounding Monterrey Mountains. The angled elements of the roof provide abundant natural daylight to the spaces below at the building’s northernmost elevations. By modulating space and light through a fractured roof geometry, the building is able to maintain a rational plan to meet the rigorous requirements of the programme, while providing a strong connection to the landscape both visually and metaphorically.
The second major feature of the building is the perforated metal skin that clads the entire façade. Manufactured by the client in their auto manufacturing facility nearby, the custom aluminum skin is both perforated and etched. It incorporates interplay of solid and void, orchestrating areas of both light and shadow, while limiting views into the research areas, necessary to protect proprietary trade secrets. Thus, the industrial program has been transformed from a black box environment to a light filled space with a strong visual connection to the outside. Each of these strategies and materials, exploit the potential for performance and sensibility while achieving a rich and interesting sensory and aesthetic experience.
Programmatically, the building is divided into two volumes - warehouse/labs and offices functions. The upper storey of the offices cantilevers over the lower storey to the west and is clad in a highly perforated metal skin and is the main entry facade. The lower story is mainly glazed and open to reveal portions of the research laboratory, machine room and other industrial functions not requiring visually security.
From the exterior, the warehouse appears to float lightly over the mechanical and intellectual heart of the program, reversing the notion that an industrial building should be solid and protected. Rather, the building seems very open and is intended to feel vulnerable revealing parts of its inner programme to public view.