Mexican architecture firm Gabriel Beas Arquitectura has transformed a 1905 building in the historic Mexico City neighborhood of Colonia San Rafael into Corporativo BNS, a contemporary office space surrounded by lush landscaping. Completed in phases over four years, the adaptive reuse project recovered much of the carved stonework, iron windows, carpentry and tiled floors original to the 1905 construction while introducing a new contemporary aesthetic that welcomes the outdoors in. 

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A corporate building with a white and glass facade. Lush greenery surrounds the building.

Oriented east to west on a long and linear site, the 1,095-square-meter Corporativo BNS consists of office spaces, meeting rooms, storage and other service spaces. In remodeling the structure, the architects learned that the building was converted into an office in the 1970s. After this, a series of added extensions covered up the original patios.

A corporate building with a white and glass facade. Lush greenery surrounds the building.

To reconnect the new office with the outdoors, the architects restored the original patios and — taking advantage of the building’s walkable location in the city center — removed the sheltered parking areas. Those spaces were replaced with lushly planted courtyards that serve as waiting and meeting areas as well as the main circulation pathways through the various parts of the building. The open patio is also connected to the ground-floor kitchen and dining room for employees. 

Related: Midcentury warehouse becomes a community-building asset in Mexico City

An indoor/outdoor area where an outdoor walkway near greenery connects to an indoor office area with stairs.

The original structure has also been reinforced with two new steel-framed extensions sympathetic to the architectural design of the ground floor and fitted with partition walls and floor-to-ceiling glass. Vegetation introduced on the upper levels and along the parapets, roofs and terraces appears to immerse the adaptive reuse building in a jungle-like environment. “The result is a homogeneous group of buildings in which the different times of construction coexist with the vegetation, generating a space of calm between the chaos of the city,” the architects noted in a project statement. 

+ Gabriel Beas Arquitectura

Photographrapy by Onnis Luque