Loading

SMBloggin

SMBloggin'

Home

Timeline (1937-1982): 10 Examples of Modern Architecture by Juan Sordo Madaleno

Wrriten by: Redacción Sordo Madaleno | December 6, 2018

You can read this article in: Español | English

We remember the founder of Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos on the day of his birth with 10 icon works from his long career. Juan Sordo Madaleno (October 26, 1916—March 13, 1985) was one of the precursors of the Modern Movement in Mexican architecture.

MONTERREY AND ALVARO OBREGON
  • YEAR: 1940
  • LOCATION: Mexico City
  • PROGRAM: Apartment Building
  • ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: Augusto H. Álvarez
  • STATUS: Demolished

This seven-story building with a retail space on the ground floor was designed in partnership with Augusto H. Álvarez. According to Israel Katzman, as an apartment building with setbacks it was one of the first in Mexico to emphasize the “horizontal elongation of voids and solids.” The frontage onto Álvaro Obregón avenue recalls the “villa buildings” of Le Corbusier, due to the alternating treatment of windows and terraces. Meanwhile, the façades looking onto Insurgentes and Monterrey present a different treatment that make it seem a different building altogether.

PARIS CINEMA
  • YEAR: 1954
  • LOCATION: Mexico City
  • PROGRAM: Public
  • ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: Jaime Ortiz Monasterio
  • STATUS: Demolished

Built in conjunction with Jaime Ortiz Monasterio and located on Paseo de la Reforma avenue, the Paris Cinema was one of the four emblematic buildings by Sordo Madaleno located around the Glorieta de Colón plaza. With 1,500 seats and no balcony, it was a compact solution compared to the monumental theaters of the day, such as the renowned Ermita Cinema. The building presented a glass façade onto Reforma, crowned by a marquee with the cinema’s billboard. At ground floor level was a second awning, this time projected outwards over the street on an impressive metal structure. Entrance was through an arcade of retail stores. This retail area incorporated several changes in level and in elevation recalled a Loosian Raumplan.

TORRE ANÁHUAC
  • YEAR: 1958
  • LOCATION: Mexico City
  • PROGRAM: Office Building
  • STATUS: Renovated

With 21 stories and four underground parking levels, in its day the Torre Anáhuac was one of the tallest buildings in Mexico. For this project, Juan Sordo Madaleno built to the same height as Mario Pani’s adjacent buildings, but instead of introducing setbacks higher up, he did so from the ground floor, thereby opening up a small public plaza in an increasingly congested area. The principal volume stands on a broader two-story plinth, containing the lobby and retail spaces. Both this volume and the plinth are set back from the line of the street to generate this public haven of peace. A diaphanous glass box occupies this space without affecting its sense of openness.

HOTEL PRESIDENTE ACAPULCO
  • YEAR: 1958
  • LOCATION: Acapulco, Guerrero
  • PROGRAM: Hotel
  • ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: José A. Wiechers
  • STATUS: Built

The lot where this project was built in partnership with José Adolfo Wiechers occupies a strip of land between Acapulco Bay and the Costera boulevard; it is separated from the sea by a beach of some 130 meters in length, and a rocky outcrop. The site also slopes down from the boulevard to the sea, the difference in altitude varying between 22 and 15 meters. With the surface available and the number of rooms required, it was necessary to build a tall building with as many rooms as possible per floor, while avoiding excessively long internal circulations. This gave rise to the solution comprising of a double set of rooms with a central corridor on each floor, forming a rectangular volume set perpendicular to the bay, ensuring in this way that all rooms have a view of the sea.

MERCK, SHARP & DOHME
  • YEAR: 1960
  • LOCATION: Mexico City
  • PROGRAM: Pharmaceutical complex
  • ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: José A. Wiechers, Imanol Ordorika
  • STATUS: Built

The project for these laboratories was conceived in three dominant volumes that by contrast fulfilled the fundamental conditions of the program. The three elements comprised an office building, a production building, and warehouses for storage of raw materials and finished products. They were arranged so that the latter vast and simple volume forms a backdrop to the first two. The office building was designed in simple rectangles. The production building employs a circular form with a roof free of internal columns to allow maximum flexibility. The roof, in the form of an inverted cupola that provides illumination to the central zone, is suspended from a perimeter ring which in turn is supported by a series of V-shaped columns, together providing the structural element for the building.

SAN IGNACIO DE LOYOLA
  • YEAR: 1961
  • LOCATION: Mexico City
  • PROGRAM: Church
  • STATUS: Built

This project represented an expansion to the traditional liturgical criteria both in terms of architectural design and the construction process. The floor plan retains the traditional form of the Latin cross, but takes on features of great spirituality as it is rises with its slender proportions based in all senses on the symbolic triangle. The atrium becomes an extension of the public street and forms a small plaza in which a very simple bell tower stands, affording the complex the required dignity and sense of perspective. Three great stained-glass windows with endless triangles were created as the backdrop to the main nave and the crossing, recalling the artistic expression of the great works of Mexican Muralism, which represent a harmonious combination of colors and forms that evoke any traditional or contemporary religious theme.

CARTUCHOS DEPORTIVOS
  • YEAR: 1964
  • LOCATION: Cuernavaca, Morelos
  • PROGRAM: Factory
  • ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: José A. Wiechers, Imanol Ordorika
  • STATUS: Built

This factory was designed in a wooded area by the highway to Tepoztlán. The buildings intended for the production and manufacture of sports cartridges are divided into two zones: explosive and non-explosive. The former creates a large closed park and comprises a dispersed group of small buildings for the production and manufacture of detonators and powder stores. The second zone comprises the main production building and also contains the warehouses for storage of raw materials and finished products. This is rectangular in shape with a span of 30 m and length of 130 m, divided into spans arranged every 10 meters. The reinforced concrete roof is formed of two half hyperbolic paraboloids in each span. At one end of this volume stands the lead building, a three-story volume used for the classification, graphite and storage of lead, and the characteristic 58-meter tower built from concrete using a climbing formwork system. The industrial unit is rounded off with the office and general services buildings, set around a central garden and characterized by the use of regional materials and projecting roofs to protect the interiors from excessive insolation.

PALACE OF JUSTICE
  • YEAR: 1964
  • LOCATION: Mexico City
  • PROGRAM: Office Building
  • ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: José A. Wiechers
  • STATUS: Built

The Palace of Justice is an iconic building thanks to its innovative style and is a major landmark for the Modern Movement in Mexico. It was built to house the Federal and Mexico City courts. The characteristic colonnade of the Palace of Justice was designed with slender columns to give the building a powerful presence that is both timeless and elegant. The main entrance leads to the ground floor via an imposing staircase that is severely contained by stone walls, while the other façades are identical to each other. This entrance culminates in an open space covered by a cupola. This courtyard is the clear distribution hub for the different uses and flows.

PALMAS 555
  • YEAR: 1975
  • LOCATION: Mexico City
  • PROGRAM: Office Building
  • STATUS: Built

This is an office building of nine stories set upon a two-story plinth with retail spaces. Each floor of the tower is displaced horizontally, generating a zigzag profile that makes it unmistakable. Despite this, the rigid framework structure transfers its loads vertically throughout the eleven stories of the building. The floors comprise ribbon windows supported on solid parapets and clad in dark aluminum. The plinth, meanwhile, is clad in polished red granite. Described as a “counter-trend” building in the context of Mexican modernism and of Sordo Madaleno’s own career, today it is one of the architect’s most famous buildings due to its avant-garde character.

PRESIDENTE CHAPULTEPEC HOTEL
  • YEAR: 1977
  • LOCATION: Mexico City
  • PROGRAM: Hotel
  • ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: José A. Wiechers
  • STATUS: Built

Located in Mexico City, the building is protected from the traffic noise by a foreground barrier of trees. Its height stands out notably from its surroundings, creating a new landscape. The 5,600-square-meter site is oriented towards Paseo de la Reforma avenue, which runs along the south frontage, which makes it possible to design a volume with its greatest exposure to both the south and the north. This offers the most advantages from the point of view of landscape, orientation and also with regard to operation and maintenance of the facilities. An objective of the project was for the hotel to stand out perfectly for its volumetry as a tower of rooms, and architectural expression, achieved by the unity of the construction and the appropriate use of materials throughout.

Leave a Reply

Share

Related
Freehand drawings at SMA
Freehand drawings at SMA
By: Redacción Sordo Madaleno

Over the years, technological development in our profession ...

101 years of Mexico’s modernist explorer: Juan Sordo Madaleno
101 years of Mexico’s modernist explorer: Juan Sordo Madaleno
By: Jimena Orvañanos

Today, on what would have been his 101st birthday, we rememb ...

80 Years of Designing City through Architecture
80 Years of Designing City through Architecture
By: Redacción Sordo Madaleno

Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos was founded in 1937 by the renown ...