Café de la Reina

Connected to the foyer of an elegant luxury hotel, the Café de la Reina or “BUR-BU-JA-JA” adds a colorful and casual note to the complex. A cafeteria during the day, the space transforms into a sophisticated cocktail bar at night, the patrons immersed in iridescent aquatic colors.

A long curved green bar runs through the space, while “seaweed” camouflages the curtain wall and the mundane view of the city beyond, dissolving it into small fragments of an organic, aquatic world. Smoothly curved walls with reflecting belts, circular benches and round tables create a sensual atmosphere where space and movement interact.  

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Client

Aragonia

Location

Zaragoza, Spain

Architects

Belén Moneo, Jeffrey Brock

Architects team

Andrea Caputo, María Pierres, Sandra Formigo, Andrés Barrón, Spencer Leaf and Silvia Fernández

3d model

Andrés Barrón

Parish Church in Pueblo Serena

The church “El Señor de la Misericordia” is located in the center of a new town-like urban development in Monterrey, Mexico, surrounded by an impressive mountain landscape.  The most important factor in the siting and orientation of the church is its relationship to the largest open space of the development, a verdant plaza.  Its main entry opens right onto the plaza, and with an unobstructed width of 11.5 meters (38 feet), this opening allows for the visual connection between the church’s interior space and the plaza. This entry is at once delineated and protected by a large trapezoidal canopy cantilevered off the main façade.  

Above the entry canopy, the façade is a large flat wall without fenestration or ornament, an emphatic and nearly square plane, declarative of the otherness of the space behind and within: the sacred space of the church interior. Its blatant frontality toward the square is entirely intentional.

It is thought that the plaza can function as an annex to the church, with religious celebrations and rites spilling out of doors when attending crowds exceed the church’s capacity of 350 worshippers. On the other hand, when the bustle of the square comes into conflict with the solemnity of the church’s activities, large sliding screens attenuate the connection to the square and restore the peaceful atmosphere to the temple interior.

The project aims to go beyond the accommodation of religious rituals and liturgical events as currently practiced in Monterrey, to where the spaces of the temple represent the development of an architectural language with a very long history, where the architecture speaks of both continuity and renewal, finding references to a great heritage of ecclesiastical architecture while simultaneously remaining unquestioningly contemporary.  The temple is seen not just as a place of meditation but as a social and educational center as well.

While the character of the church is undoubtedly contemporary, its volumetric concept was derived from traditional church plans; the design presents recognizable architectural features taken from early Christian temple prototypes such as the bell tower, the stained-glass windows, the frontal altar, the baptistery, the choir, the three chapels and the lateral courtyard. The architectural proposal is therefore thought to be both recognizable and new.  

Being free-standing and in the center of the new town development, the configuration of the exterior volume presents a design that, while modern, communicates solidity and aplomb. The rotund forms are thought to be reminiscent of the first missions built by Friar Junipero throughout the American Southwest, constructed of wood and adobe.  

The 43 meter- (141 foot-) -tall bell tower can be seen from a great distance, and serves as a landmark and reference for drivers on the highway to Santiago, on which Pueblo Serena is located.

The plan is that of a basilica, with a rectangular central nave some 15 meters wide, 18 meters long and 15 meters high (W:49 feet, L:59 feet, H:49 feet), its long axis running north-south and oriented towards the altar.  There are multiple sources of natural light in the interior.  Behind the baptistery a long glass wall runs the length of the nave giving views of an enclosed patio.  The glass is protected from direct sun by a lightweight horizontal sunscreen projecting into the patio space, and the visual connection to the surrounding urban areas blocked by a massive stone screen at the patio perimeter. Within the patio, a water fountain spills a cascade of streams into a lower patio at the basement level.

Above the baptistery is a version of a rose window, a nine-square grid opening to the west with colored glass.  To the southeast, three small chapels each enjoy daylight from high skylights, each one oriented towards a different cardinal direction so that the color and level of light in each chapel changes throughout the day.  Finally, above the altar is a fourth high skylight, whose light washes down behind an inclined panel cut into four sections to reveal a large Latin cross, the cross glowing with the light from above.

As with all churches, the acoustics of the central nave were of paramount importance.  The renowned acoustic engineers of Arau Asociados made a thorough study of the conditions inside the church and helped us develop a detailed approach to the configuration of its interior surfaces, including the application of diffusing wood battens on selected walls, notable behind the altar, at the back of the three chapels and the choir, and over the entry door.

Sustainable solutions were sought at every opportunity.  After ensuring the project’s incorporation of thermal insulation of far and away greater performance characteristics than is typically used in local construction, we devised a system of natural ventilation that takes advantage of the bell tower’s great height to create a strong chimney effect drawing air through large-scale grills incorporated in the entry façade.  Daylighting was also carefully studied to be sufficient without the need for electrical lighting in all spaces for use and work, while at the same time we took great pains to avoid insolation during the hotter months, to keep the thermal gains as low as possible.  Finally, much of the building program is located underground, where temperatures are constantly comfortable, with daylight being provided by generous sunken patios.

The interior design is fully integrated with the architecture, and the furnishings are by Moneo Brock, from the wood benches to the altar, the choir and the multiple screens, the sliding doors at the entry, the doors to the main sanctuary and the screen that separates the baptistery from the central nave.  We also designed elements of a more artistic nature, such as the stained glass windows of the “rose window” (a reinterpretation of the gothic feature, here oriented to the west for maximum effect during the evening Mass), the stained glass at the entry to the ossuaries, and the two sanctuaries, sunbursts made of gold or silver triangles canted to catch light from all angles.

Various artworks were commissioned for the church under Moneo Brock’s curatorial guidance: a large sculpture of Christ on the cross carved in wood by the Galician artist Francisco Leiro, a mural in encaustic of John Paul II in the third chapel painted by Pedro Cuní of New York, and a tall painting of the Christ the Merciful by Carmen Pinart of Madrid, now hanging in the second chapel.  These pieces by contemporary artists, respectful of the traditional content called for by church’s benefactors and clergy, complete the space.  

Thanks to the opening up of two large sunken patios, the various spaces on the basement level are flooded with natural light.  Around the north patio are the parish’s administrative offices.  The patio to the west with the cascading waterfall has to one side classrooms and multifunctional spaces for the community and to the other the ossuaries and a small chapel for funeral rites, spaces that are made more private in their location behind the waterfall.  One of the challenges facing us in the design of the basement was the need to connect to the commercial atrium at the lower level; to create a space of transition between atrium and church, we designed a vestibule lit by an open-air, prismatic skylight and, immediately below it, a reflecting pool.

The landscape design of Harari LA successfully integrates the architectural concept with that of the larger urban project, using Holm oaks and a spectacular control and selection of the planted material to mediate between the different built structures that compose the larger development.  

 

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Client

Plaza Serena (Real Estate in Huajuco Canon)

Location

Carretera Federal 500, Monterrey México

Building size

17,222 sqft

Budget

$ 2.077.717

Architects

Belén Moneo, Jeffrey Brock

Architects team

Irene Alberdi, Andrés Barrón, Fabrice Leray, Jaime Salvador, Sara Pericacho, Irene Hernádez, Juan Galloso

3d model

Fabrice leray, Andrés Barrón

Structural engineer

RGT Engineering (Gerardo Hernández)

Acoustical consultant

Arau Acustic (Higiniarau)

Contractor

Plaza Serena

Photographer

Jorge Taboada

The University of El Rosario Laboratory Building

The Quinta Mutis campus in Bogotá is one of the three campuses of the University of El Rosario in Bogotá. The projected building is located on the southwest corner of the campus adding almost 25,000 m² of classrooms, laboratories and common spaces. The building will replace some temporary structures built years ago, currently used as classrooms, adding significant new area and at a much higher level of amenity.

Moneo Brock has carefully designed the project to emphasize and update the values of the University, with the goal of opening the campus and providing it with a large agora having been priority throughout the project’s development.

The taller volume of laboratories has been given the shape of a mineral outcropping that responds to the city-scape of Bogotá and its environment, while the lower volume adapts to the surrounding buildings, some of them of historical value for the city. Both shapes share common spaces and emphasize communication, facilitating the practical use of the building.

A large terrace on top of the lowest volume opens the cafeteria to panoramic views of Bogotá. This plaza-garden is not only open to the interior common spaces of the campus, but to the surrounding city and its inhabitants.

Sustainable design and flexibility were both high priorities in the design of the new building. This project is being developed by a multidisciplinary team based in Madrid and in Bogotá.

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Location

Bogotá, Colombia

Gross area

270,000 sqft

Architects

Belén Moneo, Jeffrey Brock, Fernando de la Carrera, Alejandro Cavanzo

Architects team

Francisco Blázquez, Irene Alberdi

Model

Moneo Brock

3d model

Moneo Brock

Vall d’Hebron Hospital Campus

The key goal of the new design for the campus is to create a pleasant, accessible, healthy and sustainable environment, integrating all users and visitors, with an emphasis on the quality of life. 

The campus has been conceived as a Mediterranean orchard. It is our estimation that all users have an appreciation for this landscape, and its very familiarity will bring comfort and tranquility to the hospital campus, at once contributing to patient healing while providing a vital space of leisure for the hospital staff.

The sloped terrain will in great part be graded as terraced plateaus separated by dry stone walls, allowing the introduction of vast amounts of exposed earth and other permeable substrates. This configuration avoids erosion and facilitates water retention. Various decorative fountains are planned across the site, as well as public drinking fountains.

Throughout the campus we have introduced plazas for the greater community. These are intimate natural spaces for gathering, meeting and sharing, featuring shade trees, tables and benches, play structures and space for café and food service.

In the center of the campus we propose duplicating the ground plane. The intense traffic streams associated with ambulances, delivery vehicles and private cars and taxis will be concentrated on a lower, quasi-underground level, leaving the upper level entirely free of vehicular traffic apart from occasional and light-duty maintenance traffic.

In order to improve the connectivity between different buildings and amenities, we propose an extensive network of pedestrian ways and bicycle paths on this upper, car-free plane. The path network will guarantee universal accessibility across the campus. It has been designed to be legible, coherent, extensive and efficient.

The landscaping design preserves as many of the existing, healthy trees as possible and proposes the introduction of low maintenance and drought-hardy autochthonous plants, shrubs and trees. There will be a number of community gardens across the campus. Overall, the area of green space will be two and a half times (2,5x) that which exists today.

Further measures to assure sustainability include the use of local, recycled and reused materials, the development of on-site, all-organic food production, the improvement of the campus water management through storm water control and urban heat-island reduction, the provision of facilities for recycling and composting and the use of solar powered, low-level lighting at night. 

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Client

Fundació Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron - Instituto de Investigación

Location

Passeig Vall d'Hebron 119-129, Barcelona

Building size

1,425,000 sqft

Architects

Belén Moneo and Jeffrey Brock

Architects team

Irene Alberdi, Raquel Prendes, Pedro Arnanz, Francisco José Blázquez

Design architects team

Rafael Moneo, Belén Moneo and Jeffrey Brock