S-AR combines concrete, steel and wood for an all-white art gallery in Mexico

Galería AAF in Mexico by S-AR

Architecture agency S-AR reveals ‘Galería AAF’, all-white art Gallery located in Monterrey, Mexico. The purpose of this project is to distribute the exhibition spaces in a small structure of three floors and to study different construction systems and materials for each floor while keeping the same architectural concept.
all images by Ana Cecilia Garza Villarreal

build system and functions

On the first floor, S-AR (see more here) has allocated public space for readings and lectures, as well as a kitchen to help prepare for exhibition openings. In addition, there is also a room for artists’ residences, with its own bathroom and patio. This level uses a construction system based on unfinished cinder block walls and steel deck slabs on white painted IPR beams. The enclosures are made specifically for this building out of wood, aluminum, glass and wire mesh.

The second level houses an open exhibition space designed to showcase a range of artworks and interventions. This level has walls finished in plaster, white paint and a reticular reinforced concrete slab with coffered formwork left exposed. On the third floor, a reading corner also serves as an office and meeting room. This space is clad in strips of pine wood and an exposed, bare concrete ceiling slab. The gallery is crowned with an open-air patio which also serves as a gazebo when the metal doors are open.

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All these spaces are positioned in the center of the plot, leaving open the vertical circulations on the side of the adjacent property. Meanwhile, the other side of the building forms a side patio that lets light into the ground floor. This contrasts with the dark ambiance of the circulation block, where two contrasting staircases form unique flights: a concrete staircase in the first part and a wooden one in the second.

The upper levels receive daylight from the shorter sides of the volume, through folding doors which can be adjusted to provide more or less light and privacy, and also form alternating front and rear facades. The south-facing side wall is clad in corrugated iron to provide a thermal barrier to solar gains. Combined with the polystyrene-filled blocks used in the walls, this helps keep interiors cool during the hotter months in the city.

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William E. Bennett