In a bid to sustainably create more inclusive and connective space in Mexico City, local architecture practice BAAQ’ has rehabilitated Dr. Atl 285 — an industrial structure from the late 1960s — into a mixed-use community hub topped with a productive urban garden. Located in the neighborhood of Santa Maria la Ribera just west of the historic center, the adaptive reuse project responds to the area’s ongoing densification process that has attracted a younger population in recent years. In adapting the building into a community-forward space rather than tearing it down to start anew, the architects have also carefully preserved the cultural and architectural heritage of the the structure while minimizing the project’s environmental impact.

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Primarily built with reinforced concrete beams and columns, Dr. Atl 285 was originally used for industrial purposes. The architects left the reticular concrete structure exposed in a nod to the building’s past while inserting new cubic elements of wood as part of a new, flexible, modular design that can adapt to different program needs of varying sizes and configurations. The permeable construction also allows natural light to pass through the building.

Related: A lush rooftop oasis flourishes on this renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City

gray sofa and white lounge chair near wall of glass
round wood table under chandelier in industrial building

In addition to a rooftop urban farm that produces food for all users, the architects have created a series of common spaces in the outdoor areas. A water treatment plant was installed beneath the building’s old courtyard to eliminate drainage discharge. By recirculating all of the water used, the water treatment plant helps save up to 45% of water. A garden was planted atop the water treatment plant to provide additional outdoor green space and to improve air quality. 

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aerial view of garden on a brick rooftop

“The project aims to demonstrate the adaptability of architecture in the existing resources, the regenerative potential of the city, and the ability to generate sustainable projects nowadays,” the architects explained in a project statement. “All this to preserve the cultural and architectural heritage through the restoration of these constructions and projects, not only to maintain the presence of each neighborhood but also to reduce the environmental impact of real estate development.”


Phototography by Jaime Navarro via BAAQ’