Talleres de Diseño by Shine Architecture
and TA Arquitectura

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Mexican firms Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura have converted an unused building at the Monterrey Institute of Technology's León campus into a 24-hour studio for art and design students (+ slideshow).

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

No classes will take place in the building, so the Monterrey Institute's brief was for a "creative laboratory" that would be available to students at all times for art, design, model-making and photography.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura stripped the two-storey building back to its structure, removing exterior walls, internal partitions, windows and staircases so that they could completely reconstruct the interior to suit these activities.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Studios and exhibition areas occupy the lower floor, which features a central double-height space, while a photography room, a workshop and additional study spaces are located upstairs.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Even though both storeys meet the ground level of the sloping site, the architects have added a ramp across the facade to create an additional link between the floors that improves access for disabled students.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

A shield of steel columns and timber louvres folds around this ramp, giving the building a jagged, cage-like exterior.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

The remaining exterior walls are clad with angled panels of fritted glass, which are engineered to let both light and ventilation into the studios. This prevents the building overheating when temperatures outside reach beyond 30 degrees celsius.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

See more projects from Mexico, including a concrete apartment block in Mexico City and a house with a twisted first floor in Tijuana.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Photography and drawings are by Shine Architecture.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Here's a project description from the architects:


This retrofit project intends to revitalize a under-utilised space, into a 1180m2 art/design studio workshop for students within Tec de Monterrey’s campus in Leon, Mexico.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

The intervetion in the old building aimed to be an inovative proposal in use, aesthetics (although in accordance to the existing buildings in campus) and life test for bioclimatic strategies.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

In terms of use, the intention was to make a space for the students, a blank page for them to intervene, with just the basics to start getting space appropiation by the students, the proposal was to make a 24/7 student studio, with no classes in it, thus a creative laboratory.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

The first floor comprises public spaces such as; studios, exhibit areas and services. Second floor contains semi-public areas for modelling, Photography and specific working areas.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

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.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

As a first approach all non-structural elements within the envelope and interiors: exterior walls, stairs, partitions, windows, among others, where removed in order to achieve a wide-open-integrated space for multi functional design activities.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

In addition, the structural analysis oriented all “clean-up” decisions for a stand-alone main structure with new programmatic requirements.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Moreover an appendicular transitional space was proposed along northwest façade, by unfolding external circulations and generating an aesthetical anomaly upon the main body access.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

An important bioclimatic design concern was Leon’s hot dry climatic conditions, where in summer temperatures easily reach 38°C (100°F), with low relative humidity (almost 10%) and very high solar radiation impinges. Thus thermal, visual and acoustic comfort targets were established to define passive design systems for all educational spaces and reduce energy consumption. Software based tests were executed to prove the hypotesis.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

All main facades comprise glass ‘flakes’ which allow diffused daylight penetration, and natural ventilation in-between gaps. Flake’s glazing properties varied as a function of its solar orientation from translucent to transparent.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Additionally the project comprises an atrium that achieves the same effects with roof lights for diffuse zenith daylight and upper vents for any given adiabatic air effect.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Qualitative speaking a uniform daylight performance was achieved regardless external sky conditions for visual comfort. As complement artificial lamps were costume designed for both: optimum visual performance and uncomfortable noise absorption.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Furthermore, daylight quality was not merely a statutory requirement but spatial perception. Hence architectural intentions embarked on sketching and physical modelling of the intended effect, and within principles revision. Materials, proportions and sources of light where evaluated and translated into the overall concept.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Above: lower floor plan - click above to see larger image

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. Also thinking in a reproducible module for other facades.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Above: upper floor plan - click above to see larger image

Thermal comfort targets were assessed upon maximum occupation and average daily hot conditions, for calculating minimum air exchanges per hour.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Above: section diagram - click above to see larger image

The latter informed the façade’s apertures ratios for any given fresh air provision required and heat gain dissipation. Also the appendicular external space offers a spatial transition indoors and outdoors.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Above: north elevation - click above to see larger image

Predesign studies with simulations and parametric models helped to understand the building performance, which was finally validated on site. The building outcome brought environmental solutions to achieve a desirable performance upon comfort targets and building requirements.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Above: east elevation - click above to see larger image

Conceptually the morphological synthesis of the project starts taking shape into an informed model with aesthetic physical and analytical design methods.

Parametric studies made in Grasshopper (with a formely Rhino Base) were made to understand how to reduce material consumptions.

Habitat by Shine Architecture and TA Arquitectura

Above: west elevation - click above to see larger image

Project: Habitat ITESM Leon
Developed by: SHINE Architecture and TA Arquitectura
Typology: Education
Year: 2012 2
Area: 1180m (12,701sq.ft.)
Location: Leon, Mexico

Sustainable Environmental Design Advise: Michael Smith - SAAi México
Structural Engineering: Jorge Gallardo - SANSON Estructuras
Civil Works: Jorge Gonzalez - emplekton
Facade Works: Josué Rincón - ALUDOMO
Wood Decks: Edgar Angulo - Pisos Vieri
Lamp Designer: Sebastián Beltrán - Natural Urbano
Electric engeneering: Jesus López
Acoustics Advise: Daniel Ruvalcaba - Quorum Acoustics

  • tommy

    The plywood under the stairs brings down a great design. The plywood makes it seem unfinished or an underdeveloped design.