Dr. Atl 285 is a five-story residential structure in Santa Maria la Ribera.
As Mexico City grows in population, boroughs like Santa Maria la Ribera are densifying. Just west of the central historic center of the city, the neighborhood dates back to the 19th century. Architecture firm BAAQ’ hoped to preserve some of the city’s history while taking on a restoration project to accommodate the changing population.
BAAQ’ turned Dr. Atl 285—originally a textile factory built in the ’60s—into a trendy, urban, and sustainable apartment building complete with a gym, outdoor cinema, and rooftop with a city view. “Our philosophy is to take advantage of what already exists in Mexico City,” says project manager Alfonso Sodi.
But adaptive reuse isn’t the only way this project is green. Because the structure of the former factory was kept intact during the renovation this apartment complex is already sustainable. And the team didn’t stop there. The architects’ emphasis on water preservation and creating additional green spaces were additional elements that add to the overall sustainability of the building. Dr. Atl 285 is also close to public transportation.
The renovation also maintains the building’s industrial character, with wide-open spaces, exposed pipes, and concrete floors. The balconies are triangular to allow light to pass through into the individual apartments and also to showcase the building’s original exterior.
On the rooftop, urban farming is encouraged to promote sustainable, healthy food sourcing, and consumption. Both rooftop and patio gardens also help to improve the overall air quality of the structure, while shared patio spaces encourage people to get together as a community.
The roof is Sodi’s favorite element of the project. “You really appreciate it because of all the vegetation, the view, the materials,” he says.
A water treatment plant under the old courtyard eliminates drainage discharges and recirculates 100% of the water used. On top, a tree garden welcomes users creating the feeling of a park, regenerating the air quality of the entire building.
Sodi says the building wasn’t originally intended for apartments, so inserting necessary features like the hot water system is where challenges presented themselves and costs arose. He says the design team chose to keep the galvanized ductwork exposed but paint it. “It was a very, very elaborate process,” he says.
In general, Sodi says he hopes the finished project brings people together. “We wanted to provoke interaction between the neighbors who live actually inside the project and the neighbors who surround the property.”