The Incubadora Social ITESM-Bancome social entrepreneurship center in León, Guanajuato Mexico offers an ambitious program in an exquisite retrofitted building that make the most of humble materials. The design’s purpose is to offset the retrofitted building from the bright stuccoed houses in the area, raising the bar for learning while saving energy and building materials at the same time. SHINE Architecture used locally sourced pine and repurposed steel from the retrofit to create the storefront, which unfolds in a welcoming gesture that invites low-income students to come inside.
The tiny satellite campus is the collaborative effort of Tecnológico de Monterrey, a private university, and the bank Bancomer. The project was developed to provide education for low-income residents while serving as a small business consulting center. SHINE Architects were not hampered by a small budget as they maximized the use of low-cost and low-impact materials.
The result is a building with a distinctive face and a highly energy-efficient design. The pine vertical elements were harvested and milled locally and treated for exposure to the elements. They are carefully angled to cut off the summertime sunshine but allow morning heat in the winter. The facade is supported by a steel frame which was reclaimed from an on-site deconstructed garage roof. The design also helps induce natural cooling throughout the building, reducing cooling costs.
You would not be given a lower grade if you missed these sustainable features though, as the building’s rich detailing and playful geometric relationships take center stage. The design is intended to feel open and gracious – a strong counterpoint to its neighbor’s gated courtyards. The well-ventilated and daylit interior also helps keep students tuned in to their studies.