Abandoned for seven years, a four-storey warehouse and auto parts store in Mexico City’s Colonia Juarez has been revived as an urban market and mixed-use development, a potent salvo in the regeneration of a quarter that had, by all accounts, been in decline since an earthquake in the mid-1980s.
Architects Francisco Pardo Arquitecto and Julio Amezcua have tread lightly, framing the building’s tenants against a backdrop of the original raw, exposed concrete ceilings, beams, and columns. Levity is introduced by way of a green staircase and light streaming in through floor-to-ceiling windows – Pardo likening the effect to a vortex that folds the street-scape up through the building to the rooftop, which houses a Mexican beer bar.
In addition to a barber, beauty salon, pilates and yoga studios, and office, Milán 44 – the complex is named after its street address – is drawing in the neighbourhood with a sweep of stalls including Holly Waffles, a creation by Belgian street artist Bué the Warrior, sushi bar, a southeastern Mexican stall, and an organic food market.
For the developers, Milán 44 is both an experiment in the repurposing of extant, abandoned architecture, and a crucial component of what they view as the ‘genetic code for the city’s future development’. Either way, it’s a tasty treat.