MEXICO CITY – La Roma, in Mexico City, was once inhabited by upper-class residents until the population decreased in the mid-century due to the emergence of suburban life. Hit by a devastating earthquake in 1985, the area was left deeply affected and caused another significant number of residents to move elsewhere. Nowadays, La Roma is one of the most coveted areas in the city and architectural firm Cadaval & Sola-Morales was assigned to transform a historical mansion into a contemporary residential complex.

The architects designed nine housing units of various sizes and configurations, also incorporating a commercial space. The building itself reflects two architectural typologies distinct to two historical epochs. As the project grows in height, the contrast between the old and new becomes apparent; black vs white and brick vs steel. ‘The idea was to create a harmonic project integrating old and new,’ mentioned the architect Eduardo Cadaval. The original mansion house occupies the majority of the plot and is structured along an outdoor corridor. The form and materiality of the existing house and courtyard, which comprises half of the lower part of the building, is replicated in a new addition installed at the rear of the plot where an original service area fell into ruin.

The upper volume – in black steel, which covers the entire structure – is subtle and reserved as well as keeping a certain simplicity. Instead of appearing as a continuous surface, the roof is engaged with a succession of terraces. Furthermore, the glazed front façade of the new construction is recessed and allows the existing building to showcase its full potential. 

Photo courtesy of Miguel de Guzmán