The building for the Tec de Monterrey University in their Juarez Campus, is in essence a building destined to host most of the extracurricular activities offered to students both in High school as in College and Higher degrees.
Surrounding the actual Gym on its front and one of the sides, the building should integrate to it with a circulation corridor on the two levels of the Project. Uniting both buildings and generating a new main façade which has western orientation, solving an ancient thermal problem on the existing gym, and giving it a new and renovated face towards its access plaza, integrating thru its architecture to the rest of the campus buildings.
The 52,000 sq. Ft. Building should provide 12 classrooms for varied activities such as Martial Arts, Classic and Popular dance, Painting and Sculpture workshop, Fitness, Theatre, Music, Express workshops, Cooking classes, also it has a small auditorium, a Racquetball court, and a multi-use hall.
It also provides service areas for student associations with ten individual spaces. It has enough storage areas to accommodate the work material on each of the workshops and restroom services on both levels. Instead of placing the new building adjacent to the existing gym on its south Wall, we decided to generate a plaza between both buildings (existing and new), the one is shadowed by the new building most of the year, and the circulation to access all of the classrooms makes a covered portico surrounding the plaza. The Project, besides fulfilling the long waited demand to have ideal spaces for the integral development of the alumni classes, it should show that Tec de Monterrey University can and wants to do things differently, that they can change paradigms, and that they are committed care for the environment and willing to invest on sustainable projects. Also, in an era of economic and social crisis in Mexico, but specially in Ciudad Juarez, we should have a building that taking with austere finishes, would make an optimum and dignified space for the development of the activities for which it was conceived, with just the necessary Budget, and keeping the compromise for a sustainable campus.
The combination of textures and finishes, mainly on the perimeter of the building, alternating the shipping container towers with the louver covered Windows of the classrooms, generates a sequence of solidity and transparency. All within a common characteristic, the sustainable theme, expressed by the recycled containers and the care for the sun’s incidence on the south and west facades. The vertical stripes on the sides of the containers contrast with the horizontality of the louvers. The used intermodal shipping containers towers are used at a 100% on its four levels. The first and third levels their function is integral with the workshop its adjacent to, as didactic area for the professor, a place for resting on the sports workshops, and also hosts the stairs for the storage rooms and the student association work areas located on the second and fourth levels.
The restrooms are also located inside the containers on each of the workshop levels. The possibility to modify the container with large voids allowed that the area inside the container be an integral part of the workshop, giving it more than an utilitarian use. The use of metallic louvers and aluminum panel elements on the western main facade, allowed us the integration of this building with the rest of the buildings on campus and the main Access on the complex adjacent to a plaza with mature trees took importance, and solved the problem of western exposure on the existing gym.
The use of recycled shipping containers helped us reduce CO2 emissions generated by the construction process of the building. We used 36 used 40 ft. containers and each container prevents the manufacture of tons of steel, as most of the lateral loads on the structure of the building were taken by the container columns allowing to have column sections just enough to transfer the vertical loads on the workshops. The workshops have windows on two opposite sides, the north side which is permanently shadowed and the south side protected by the aluminum louvers, allowing us to perform activities during most of the day without artificial lighting and protected from heat gain.
The sides of the containers are covered with automotive painting with a nano-sphere ceramic aggregate that makes a texture very resistant to abrasion, this microscopic spheres repel most of the heat irradiated by the sun, helping the isolation factor on the building. On the interior side of the containers we use Icynene spray foam, a non polluting insulation, covered by sheet rock panels. The rest of the buildings finishes are grinded and then polished concrete and laminate flooring inside the containers and on the mezzanines. This allowed us to keep operating and maintenance costs to a minimum. The interior of the workshops have flooring according to their use. The construction method allowed to reduce waste volumes and the construction period also was reduced.
Far from ending with a boring building according to its function as workshops, is a building that has color, texture, rhythm but mainly, it’s a building that teaches, that educates on its own, is an example of good resource use, both economically as environmentally, it shows that recycling can take place on different ways, that design can be optimized and that we are committed with the environment, and what better place to teach all of this than in the building made specially to develop the full potential of their users, getting the best from them in activities performed not by obligation but by their own will. In this creative environment by definition, the building was meant to teach us something too.
Grupo ARKHOS, is a Design Firm Cofounded in 2008, by architects Ruben Escobar-Urrutia, LEED AP and Ricardo Pacheco-Lopez. Since that date we have worked on a very varied array of projects, from student centers and classroom university buildings, office buildings, restaurants, and currently working on a 60,000 square meter Convention and Exposition Center and on two 10 story IT development buildings, one already under construction and seeking a LEED Gold certification. We have offices in Juarez Mexico and in Mexico City. And have developed projects in several cities in Mexico including Chihuahua, Juarez, Mexico City and Cancun. And in the United States in El Paso, Texas. Our design approach is always towards sustainability and innovation.Location: Tec de Monterrey University in Juarez, Mexico Architect: Grupo ARKHOS Project name: Extra-curricular activities center
Client: Monterrey Tech University, Juarez Campus
CoPrincipal: Ruben Escobar-Urrutia LEED AP.
CoPrincipal: Ricardo Pacheco-Lopez Completion date: February 2011
Gross square footage: 52,000 gross square feet.