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As the historic city center of Queretaro, Mexico has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, development around the city must conform to certain standards to protect the heritage of the area. This means even in the peripheral industrial areas, buildings have to conform to these standards — and the Innovation Lab was no exception.

The new lab was required to have an arched porch, which Rojkind Arquitectos reinterpreted as a feature of the building. The abstract arch concept directed much of the design for the exterior and can be seen as a series of intersecting spheres that multiply like foam, expanding out onto the courtyard and cut into the surrounding lawn.

Bright colors dominate the interior and researchers in their white lab coats appear to float around in a sea of blues, yellows and greens. Meanwhile, the exterior is opaque, metallic and impenetrable and is a stark contrast to the colorful arched openings of the labs on the bottom floor. Operable windows open to reveal a glimpse into bright interior color, and staircases float in and around the building.

Built from recycled steel on top of a previously paved lot, the new lab converts the area into one that helps infiltrate storm water. The building also features highly efficient hybrid lighting, low VOC  paint, low-flow water fixtures, and high recycled content carpet. High performance glass windows, natural ventilation, and natural light in the lab area help to reduce energy use. And a water treatment plant and ongoing waste recycle program reduce waste water and waste from the facility.

Images ©Paul Rivera