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MCHAP

02/2024

We are honored to share that our project Baja Club Hotel has been nominated for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize.

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We are honored to share that our project Baja Club Hotel has been nominated for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize. Established by the Illinois Institute of Technology this prestigious biennial award recognizes the most outstanding built works of architecture throughout North and South America. Congratulations to the many contributors who made this project possible, and a big thank you to our clients Grupo Habita for their trust and passion for architecture. Thank you Jim Gauer for the continuous encouragement and support. Photography by Rory Gardiner.

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Casa Ideal

02/2024

Max von Werz participates in the group show Casa Ideal

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Casa Ideal is a project by PM curated by Enrique Giner de los Ríos.

7 Feb 2024 – 30 Mar 2024
Proyectos Multipropósito
Sevilla 10, Piso 2, colonia Juarez, Mexico City

Using different formats such as photography, models, drawings and furniture, the exhibition brings together the vision of more than 70 artists, designers and architects from different generations on the ideal house.

Max von Werz contributes with “la casa por el tejado”. The piece is an abstracted architectural model of a gable roof, marking the start of a broader exploration of the potential of the vecindad tenement, an endangered building type, to be updated and transformed in order to serve as a prototype of collective housing for Mexico City in the 21st century.

Materials: steel with enamel paint (with blued steel base)
Dimensions: 40 x 17 x 6 cm
Scale: 1:500
Fabrication: Construcciones Re Lo Ruiz
Photography: C129

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Baja Club Hotel, La Paz

Hotel

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Location:  La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Client:  Grupo Habita
Gross area:  3,625 m2
Phases:  concept design – construction supervision
Status:  built
Interior design:  JAUNE
Landscape design:  PAAR
Lighting design:  Luca Salas
Graphic identity: Policestudio
Structural engineering:  DECSA
MEP engineering:  TALLER2M
Contractor:  GRAVI
Site supervision:  Luis Olachea Arquitectos
Architectural photography:  Rory Gardiner
Steel concept model:  Taller Tornel
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

Baja Club entails a 32-room lifestyle hotel for the hotelier Grupo Habita located on a beautiful plot of coastal promenade in the historic centre of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Blending old with new, the project brings together the restoration and adaptive reuse of a pre-existing colonial-style villa dating from 1910 -once a site for oyster pearl harvesting- and the construction of a new four-story extension containing guestrooms, suites, a spa and a rooftop sunset bar.

The new build echoes the L-shaped floor plan of the villa resulting in an ensemble that loosely frames a central courtyard, home to several fragrant frangipani trees, while isolating a series of more tranquil gardens and patios along the perimeter of the site. Throughout the project, the material palette draws on the property’s original detailing, including artisanal terrazzo and Talavera tiles, hand-finished timber latticework and carpentry, and blown glass lamps in transparent and amber tones.

The tiered massing of the extension reduces its visual bulk and provides generous terraces enjoying panoramic views of the Bay of La Paz, once the setting of John Steinbeck’s novel The Pearl. Subtle nautical connotations such as the new build’s horizontal streamlining, curved timber bulkheads and massive built-in tables draw inspiration from the nearby Sea of Cortés once famously coined the “aquarium of the world” by Jacques Cousteau. Vertical circulation is resolved in form of a generous helical staircase positioned at the hinge point between the two wings of the new building.

Baja Club has received the following recognitions:

Condé Nast Traveler: Hot List 2022
(editors’ annual selection of the world’s best new hotels)

Travel + Leisure: It List 2022
(editors’ annual selection of the world’s best new hotels)

LIV Hospitality Design Awards 2022: winner
(winner in the boutique hotel category, winner in the midscale & lifestyle hotel category, jury favorite in the midscale & lifestyle hotel category)

Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2021: winner
(hotel architecture category)

Premio Noldi Schreck 2021: 2nd place
(tourism: boutique hotel category)

Premio Firenze Entremuros 2021: 3rd place
(public architecture category)

Global Architecture & Design Awards 2021: 3rd place
(built hospitality category)

Architecture Masterprize 2021: honorable mention
(hospitality architecture category)

Premio Interceramic 2021: special mention
(commercial architecture category)

Hospitality Design Awards 2021: finalist
(restorations, transformations + conversions category)

Premio Obra del Año 2021: finalist
(tourism & hospitality category)

Dezeen Awards 2021: longlisted
(hotel & short-stay interior category)

Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize: nominated
(MCHAP Cycle 5)

ArchDaily 2022 Building of the Year Awards: nominee
(hospitality architecture category)

Selected press:

New York Times T List
Architectural Record
Monocle
FSB
Arquine
Divisare
Dezeen
Gessato
Architizer
Architectural Digest Spain
Architectural Digest Mexico
Yelllowtrace
Manera
Archdaily
Archello
Abitare
Designboom
Michelin Guide
Condé Nast Traveler
Elle Decor Italy

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Thermal Baths, Oaxaca

09/2022

Max von Werz Architects, in collaboration with IUA Ignacio Urquiza Architects, have been appointed to design a thermal baths project on the Oaxacan coast. More information to follow.

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Flax hut conversion, Germany

Single family house

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In collaboration with Architekturbüro Stephan Wildgruber
Location:  Pfifferloh, Bavaria, Germany
Gross area:  250 m2
Phases:  concept design – construction permits
Status:  built
Construction design & supervision:  Anja Eckert / Architekturbüro Stephan Wildgruber
Photography:  Simone Bossi
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa
Physical model:  Alberto Molina
Contractor:  Baugeschäft Matthias Staber
Carpentry:  Zimmerei Stocker Prien
Structural engineering:  M-STATIK Philipp Metzger
Electrical:  Buchauer Elektrotechnik Frasdorf
Plumbing:  Florian Stein Frasdorf
Landscaping:  Hubert Fischer Gartenbau

This project entails the adaptation and extension of a heritage-listed flax threshing hut located in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. The client brief required that the existing stone construction, dating back to the 18th century, be upgraded into a fully functional country home. In close dialogue with the local heritage authorities, a strategy was developed to keep the original building fabric as intact as possible while accommodating complementary functions in a new low-slung volume which at first glance is perceived as a separate and autonomous construction.

Old and new building volumes are connected by a discrete transversal structure. The concept of a cluster of volumes growing incrementally over time draws from local agricultural building types and reads as a kind of “Hof” or homestead. The aim was that the new build extension harmonizes pleasantly with the original construction through its choice of material and form while forgoing imitation or pastoral ornament.

The resulting 250 m2 ensemble of building volumes shields itself from its immediate neighbours to the north, while at the same time opening itself southwards to the village core, alpine mountain range, and afternoon sun. The extension was constructed on the basis of a timber post system set on a concrete basement foundation and finished with timber siding in accordance with the local vernacular. The low-pitched roof with its wide eaves is clad in naturally patinating copper.

Selected press:

Divisare
Thisispaper
Gessato
Baumeister
Arbitare
Archello
Archello (German)
Architizer

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Calle Colima, Mexico City

02/2020

Max von Werz Architects has received permits to carry out a conservation project for a Porfirio–era townhouse in the Roma Norte neighbourhood of Mexico City.

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OMR, Mexico City

Art gallery

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Project in collaboration with Mateo Riestra and José Arnaud Bello
Location:  Colonia Roma, Mexico City
Client:  Galería OMR
Gross area:  550 m2
Phases:  concept design – construction supervision
Status:  built
Structural engineering:  DECSA
MEP engineering:  TALLER2M
Architectural photography:  Rory Gardiner

After 30 years in a turn-of-the-century Porfirian villa, the contemporary art gallery OMR decided to move to a new location. The design strategy was to preserve the existing brutalist building as much as possible, stripping back some interior details so as to amplify its character and transform it into a generous exhibition space. A one-story roof extension accommodates all back-of-house functions including a large multipurpose space, a library and offices. This upper floor is reached via a stair clad in volcan stone running alongside a new rear façade crafted of steel profiles and painted in a deep carmine red reminiscent of Mexico’s functionalist architecture. The result is a sober project that builds on the character of the original building whilst preparing it for a new cultural life without resorting to the international conventions of the sterile white cube.  

Selected press:

Architectural Review
Baumeister
Dezeen
Divisare
Arquine yearbook
Ignant
Wallpaper
Architizer
Stylepark
Yellowtrace
Archdaily
Designboom

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Calle Praga, Mexico City

Mixed-use development

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Project in collaboration with Josué Palma
Location:  Colonia Juarez, Mexico City
Client:  Ricardo Porrero
Gross area:  1,100 m2
Phases:  concept design – construction documentation
Status:  under development (construction documentation)
Structural engineering:  Ricardo Camacho
MEP engineering:  Grupo BVG
Architectural visualization:  AUPA
Physical models:  Alberto Molina & Rubén Oliveros
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

On the project site in Mexico City’s Juárez neghbourhood stand two single-family houses built simultaneously in the 1930’s but in completely contrasting styles; one in the bold forward-looking Art Deco, the other in the quaint and nostalgic Spanish Colonial Revival. 

The project brief was to restore, retrofit and extend the existing building fabric in order to achieve the density and spatial diversity required for the property’s new life cycle as a gallery sharing hub. 

In the planned intervention a new lightweight steel construction nestles itself onto the pre-existing construction, thereby tying together the two disparate pieces of period architecture while also giving form and coherence to two previously disarranged courtyards within. The new steel construction is set back from the street line in order to reduce the visual impact on its surroundings.

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Casa Cieneguita, San Miguel

Single family house

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Location:  Cieneguita, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
Gross area:  355 m2
Phases:  concept design (in collaboration with Ted Wolter )
Status:  built
Architecture photography: César Béjar
Physical model:  Enrique Salazar
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

Located in the countryside close to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, this project entails the adaptive reuse and extension of a modest adobe brick structure for its future use as a private country home. The project was conceived by interior designer Ted Wolter with Max von Werz collaborating on the architectural concept design.

The project dispenses with windows lifted from the floor, using instead steel and glass doors that fulfil the double function of window and door. The architectural plan of the house is made up of rooms connected by doors, avoiding corridors altogether. Doors set enfilade create striking views that cut across the entire house. Wooden beams placed at 50 cm intervals give the spaces a timeless character. A walled courtyard offers a private place for relaxation and contemplation, while containing a staircase leading up to a roof garden with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Over time the exterior facades have been covered with the ficus pumila vine.

In order for the shift to adaptive reuse to be scalable and have a significant measurable impact on our environment, we believe that reuse projects should target not only monuments with historic or artistic significance but also ordinary everyday buildings. Demolition should become an absolute last resort, even for mundane architecture, even for quote-unquote bad architecture. The challenge of how to transform and reinvent this kind of non-descript architecture in order to give it a new lease on life is not only central to combating climate change but also holds surprising architectural potential.

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SR61, Mexico City

Collective housing

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Location:  Colonia Reforma Social, Mexico City
Client:  InHouse
Gross area: 4,135 m2
Phases:  competition by invitation
Architectural visualization:  VIA & PAAR
Physical models:  Alberto Molina & Enrique Salazar
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

Our proposal for this residential development in Mexico City’s Reforma Social neighborhood envisions a staggered composition of slender building volumes to reduce its visual mass and optimize views, natural lighting and cross ventilation for the 21 apartments.

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Calle Platon, Mexico City

Apartment

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Project in collaboration with Ingrid von Werz
Location:  Colonia Polanco, Mexico City
Gross area:  310 m2
Phases:  concept design – construction documentation
Status:  built
Photography:  Adrian Gaut for Beni Rugs with styling by Colin King

This project constitutes the extensive refurbishment of an apartment occupying an entire floor of a building designed by Russian-Mexican architect Vladimir Kaspé and completed in 1958. The tripartite stepping of the building’s south façade gives way to generous exterior balconies that complement the interconnected dining, living and study spaces. Our intervention includes a complete and faithful restoration of the mid-century fixtures and finishes, preserving the original spirit of the residence while updating the design and technical installations of the kitchen and bathrooms. Other interventions include fixed furniture and elements such as doors, windows, a fireplace, planters, a desk and bookshelves.

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FICA, Mexico City

Temporary pavilion

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Project in collaboration with RZERO
Location:  Colonia Centro, Mexico City
Client:  General Coordination of International Affairs
Gross area:  4,350m2
Phases:  competition by invitation (2nd place)
Architectural visualization:  VIA / Antonio Espinoza Velasco
Physical model:  MEENT
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

The International Fair of Friendly Cultures is an annual event held in Mexico City’s main plaza to showcase the customs and traditions of 94 countries. Our proposal for the architectural intervention of the 2017 edition imagines a loose ensemble of 6 pavilions that loosely frame a sequence of public spaces capable of absorbing and dispersing the 3.5 million visitors attending the event in just two weeks. By reconfiguring a standard constructive system of temporary rental tents, the project develops its own geometric vocabulary open to multiple readings from zoomorphic forms as they occur in the work of the sculptor Mathias Goeritz to the interplay of valleys and ridges and visual layering that occurs in the landscape of the Valley of Mexico City.

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Tomás Moro school, Mexico City

Mixed-use infrastructure

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Project in partnership with Luis Castellá
Location:  Colonia Cuajimalpa, Mexico City
ClientColegio Tomás Moro
Gross area:  7,040 m2
Phases:  Competition by invitation (2nd place)
Physical model:  Enrique Salazar
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

Our 2015 proposal for a 7,040 m2 new-build extension for Colegio Tomás Moro, included drop-off, car park and sports facilities. A structural module inspired by the school’s “TM” monogram lends the scheme a strong visual identity while allowing for large structural spans.

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Casa del Lago, Mexico City

Public space

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Project in collaboration with Carlos H Matos & Luis Orozco Madero
Location:  Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City
Client:  Museo Casa del Lago
Gross area:  1,300 m2
Phases:  Concept design
Concrete concept model:  Taller Tornel
Model photography:  Enrique Macias Martinez

This proposal was the response to an invitation by Casa del Lago to study possible futures for the central roundabout of the museum grounds arising from the proposal to relocate a statue of the exiled Spanish poet Leon Felipe. Questioning the central and prominent position of this monument, gifted at the time by the Mexican president Echeverría, the project seeks to propose an inverted monument: As a piece of landscape architecture reminiscent of land art, the intervention is articulated as a series of 13 excavated and interconnected cylindrical spaces, giving shelter and creating a flexible stage which may be appropriated for a variety of uses such as poetry readings.

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MUNET, Mexico City

Museum

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Project in colaboración with Tatiana Bilbao Estudio
Location:  Bosque Chapultepec, Mexico City
Client:  Fideicomiso MUNET
Gross area:  38,600 m2
Phases:  competition by invitation
Visualisation:  Albert De Franco
Physical model:  Taller Tornel
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

Our proposal for the new MUNET museum (National Museum of Energy and Technology) envisions a cluster of loosely arranged building blocks connected by generous cantilevered exterior balconies. The volumes are furthermore grouped around three central courtyards, in reference to the three themes of the permanent exhibition; Energy in Nature, Petrol & Electricity and Sustainable Development. In section, the complex is organised over one basement level and three above–grade levels.

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Helmut von Werz monograph

11/2014

The first monograph on the German post–war architect Helmut von Werz has been published by the Swiss publishing house Birkhäuser.

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Max von Werz had the opportunity to participate in 2014 in the production of this first architect’s monograph on his grandfather Helmut von Werz.

As one of the great architects of the reconstruction of Munich, Helmut von Werz left a lasting imprint on the city during his life. The spirit of post-war architecture is visible in the impressive body of work that he created with his partners Johann Christoph Ottow, Erhard Bachmann and Michel Marx; work which was defined by moderation and preservation, while remaining receptive to the influence of the avant-garde.

Several buildings designed by the firm were the object of controversy at their time due to their modernity and use of new materials. This was the case with the new building for the State Archaeological Collection in Munich, which was one of the first buildings to be realised with an envelope made of weathering Corten steel.

Helmut von Werz
Ein Architektenleben – An Architect’s Life 1912-1990
Edited by Cordula Rau & Georg von Werz
Published in 2014 by the publishing house Birkhäuser
Contemporary colour photography by Florian Holzherr and Rainer Viertlböck
Graphic design by Heinz Hiltbrunner

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Ytterby house, Sweden

Guest house

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Location:  Ytterby, Stockholm archipelago, Sweden
Gross floor area:  65 m2
Phases:  concept design – construction documentation
Status:  built
Architectural visualization:  Albert De Franco
Physical model: Enrique Salazar
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

The intervention entails the refurbishment and energetic retrofitting of a boathouse from approximately 1900 in order to function as a guest house. Similar to a boat, a variety of functions -reception, kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, study and two bedrooms- are accommodated in a highly efficient and compact manner over merely 700 square feet of floor area distributed over two floor levels. Panoramic windows provide views onto the water of the surrounding archipelago landscape.

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LEX Walsall, United Kingdom

Mixed-use development

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Project in collaboration with Pan Yi Cheng, Lim Keong Wee & Charles Peronnin
Location:  Walsall, United Kingdom
Client:  Urban Splash
Gross floor area:  21,000 m2
Phases:  Competition (honorable mention)
Physical model:  Enrique Salazar
Model photographyRodrigo Chapa

This development proposal for the 2.3 acre parcel LEX hinges on the provision of a vibrant urban realm. This is achieved by saturating the plan with a multitude of low–rise shop–houses that simultaneously frame open spaces and service three proposed high–rise blocks. A buffer zone is created, progressively phasing out the hectic atmosphere of the main road, while attracting visitors through a succession of bustling public spaces culminating in a waterfront promenade.

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Sprüth Magers, London

Art gallery

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Project in collaboration with Serie Architects
Location:  Mayfair, London, United Kingdom
Client:  Sprüth Magers
Gross floor area:  325 m2
Phases:  concept design – construction supervision
Status:  built
Photography courtesy of Sprüth Magers

An 18th century listed townhouse building with a fully glazed shop front was chosen as the new premises for the renowned contemporary German art gallery Sprüth Magers. Of particular interest was the site’s latent potential to challenge the conventions of the white cube typology. The open character of the gallery space was exploited to create a distinctive type of exhibition space that acts as an extension to the streetscape and conversely makes use of the city as a vivid backdrop for the blue chip art on show. Our 2007 project formed the phase 1 architectural intervention to this building. The gallery has since been further expanded to take up the entire building in a phase 2 refurbishment in 2017 by architect Andreas Lechthaler.

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