In a city otherwise characterized by dense populations, high altitudes and metropolitan buildings, Chiapas 168 Building represents a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle. Located in the Roma district of Mexico City, Mexico’s largest and most populous city, this home has an exceptionally tropical feel to it thanks to bamboo wood materials and a grouping of terrace gardens on each level.
The Mexico City oasis comes from the minds at Vertebral, a local architecture and landscaping studio that highlights designs to bring forested ambiance into the city. Rather than concentrating on the buildings themselves with landscaping as an afterthought, the company says they design gardens and build around them.
Chiapas 168 is made up of four residential apartments positioned adjacent to an ancient jacaranda tree, a subtropical plant native to south-central South America and brought to Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. The building features steel planters that run along the balconies, disappearing between purple and jasmine flowers. The architects considered native organisms while designing the layout of the roof and terrace gardens to increase biodiversity within the city environment. The exterior of the building uses unpolished concrete and dark stained wood that is translated into the interior, invoking the design’s overall theme of integrating nature into the urban landscape.
A core system of vertical circulations helps divide the apartment building’s communal areas from the private residences, connected by a stairwell made of bright pine wood. Unlike other apartment buildings where the stairwells are associated with dark, musty environments, the stairwell here is bathed in bright natural light.
A curtain of bamboo to the south protects the back garden from view while also filtering light and wind. Inside, wooden floor-to-ceiling shelving and paneled walls help create privacy without jeopardizing the apartment’s open planned layout in the communal area, complete with a kitchen, dining room and living room.
Images courtesy of Onnis Luke