Ambrosi Etchegaray inserts four homes and three courtyards behind an old Mexico City facade

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Architecture studio Ambrosi Etchegaray has slotted four new homes behind a historic facade in Mexico City, but left enough space for three secluded patios (+ slideshow).

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

Known as the Antonio Sola Townhouses, the four-storey block is located in the Colonia Condesa neighbourhood, near where architects Jorge Ambrosi and Gabriela Etchegaray are based.

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

Local heritage regulations prevented the architects from demolishing the original facade. But they saw this as an opportunity to develop a design that reinterprets the layout of the original building.

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

They arranged the four new homes around three slender courtyards, each featuring large plant boxes and trees. The aim was for each of these spaces to feel like a small urban oasis.

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

"The [facade] condition inspired us to rethink life inside the old house and translate the schema into the new building," explained Ambrosi and Etchegaray.

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

"The project's intention was to create interior spaces emulating the original patios, while maintaining privacy of these spaces from the other apartments," they added.

"These patios allow each apartment to be naturally lit and ventilated."

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

The architects wanted the new 810-square-metre structure to resonate with – but not entirely match – the old stucco facade, so chose to use both pink-hued concrete blocks and cast concrete.



There materials are left exposed both inside and out, and are complemented by other fuss-free finishes including wooden patio decks, metal handrails, frameless glazing and a dark screed floor.

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

"This process helped us understand how to treat a valued heritage with awareness and care," added the duo. "The result is a juxtaposition of memory and urban development."

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

The first of the four homes sits directly behind the facade, occupying the first, second and third floors. It extends the facade upwards, with the new section fronted by glazing.

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

On the ground floor, a lobby provides access to this home and the three behind, which are also located on the three uppermost levels, freeing up the rest of the floor for car parking. The patios are located on the first floor.

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

The layout of each home is left as open as possible to ensure light permeates different spaces. There are also some split levels, which result in views between rooms.

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

The Antonio Sola Townhouses were completed in 2014. Other recent housing projects in Mexico include a dark brick and concrete complex by MMX and an apartment block by Cadaval & Solà-Morales with black-framed penthouses.

Photography is by Rory Gardiner.


Project credits:

Architect: Ambrosi Etchegaray
Collaborator: Gerardo Reyes
Client: FG2

Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray
First floor plan – click for larger image
Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray
Second floor plan – click for larger image
Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray
Third floor plan – click for larger image
Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray
Roof plan with planting and materials – click for larger image
Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray
Long section with planting and materials – click for larger image
Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray
Long section – click for larger image
Antonio Sola House in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray
Cross section – click for larger image