Stripped to Skeleton, Old Building Becomes Bright Art Lab

An unused building at the Monterrey Institute of Technology’s León Campus in Mexico was stripped to its frame and re-imagined as a dynamic ‘creative laboratory’ with transparent walls and an undulating wooden facade. Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura removed exterior walls, interior partitions, windows and staircases to reconstruct all but the building’s most basic footprint.

The intent of the architects was to create a ‘blank page’ for the students, a 24/7 studio for art, design, model-making and photography. All of the natural daylight that floods the building during the day is ideal for these activities; of course, darkened interior spaces are available for photo processing and similar activities.

The ‘shield’ of jagged timber and steel offers shade and privacy on one side of the building, as well as space for a ramp leading to the second floor. The glass walls let both light and air into the structure.

“Morphologically its inner industrial look like tectonic embracing 3 main parts; a large glazed box in conjunction with a smaller solid volume and external circulation appendix,” say the architects. “In terms of general aesthetic, the purpose was to look as part of a context, respecting existing materials, but be different and recognizable as an experimental-design building.”