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Cantera Market

HW-Studio Arquitectos

Recovering silence: a project for a wine cellar restores a 16th architecture.


The first thing that the architects at HW-Studio Arquitectos noticed when visiting the winery for the first time was its silence. “It is an uncommon quality in the downtown of a Mexican city,” said Rogelio Vallejo Bores and Didier Ascencio Castro. "The client wanted to turn that winery into a gastronomic market and we liked the idea, but, most of all, we liked the way we felt there and that lead us to think that it was a good opportunity to combine our language with the architectures of the past and to explore the relationship and the dialectic between both."

The warehouse, measuring, 8.00 x 40.00 meters, is located two blocks away from one of the most important music schools in the country, the former convent of 16th Century Dominican nuns of Santa Catalina de Siena, and one of the most beloved, beautiful and visited public squares in Morelia: Las Rosas.
The cellar, dating back to the 16th century as well, used to be the backyard of the house of a wealthy family, but time and reforms changed the place, eventually rendering it soulless. The aluminum-covered rood, the use of cement and a marble and resin floor show some ‘60s influences - but what was missing was an overall project that could restore the ancient spirit and link the various ages together.

"The design process began by identifying the most popular and crowded food places in the area. It was easy to discover that public squares were the places where people concentrated to eat; either in a nearby restaurant, on the terraces or simply on a bench in the square itself. From there, we identified some compositional elements of these places: the axes, the axial routes, the volumes, the sky, the trees, the use of natural materials, and we incorporated them."

They later discovered that the walls also configure an atmosphere similar to those squares. HW-Studio Arquitectos wanted to rescue everything antique with architectural value, while the new would formally and materially have a different nature: a white and defined nature that would demonstrate its own presence, and its own historical and conceptual moment.

The video for "Cantera Market", directed by Rodrigo Yanderall, shows the ethereal and rigorous geometry of the new, thus white, area of the cellar, while exhibiting the square-like feeling of the exteriors. The tree-lined central avenue is flanked by two white longitudinal volumes. On each of these, two other transversal volumes were assembled in the form of an inverted "L", which serve to cover an area of tables at the bottom and create terraces at the top.
"However, its most important function is to frame, without exclusion, the different layers of architectural history left over the centuries. Also, it is meant to intersect light and space in a way that their presence is emphasized, and they become intangible protagonists of the place."

As HW-Studio Arquitectos noted, what strikes here is the silence: we can hear birds singing and even the bells of the nearby Cathedral, making this place a refuge from the everyday chaos.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)

Authors icon Credits

Architect: HW-Studio Arquitectos
Lead architects: Rogelio Vallejo Bores and Didier Ascencio Castro
Collaborators: Bruno Mespullet and Angeles Zambrano
Mentioned project: Mercado La Cantera (2018)
Project location: Morelia, Mexico
Filmmaker: Rodrigo Yanderall

Mexico 2018
Duration: 1'43"