Interview in PIN–UP magazine


Suleman Anaya has interviewed Max von Werz for PIN–UP magazine’s 31st issue.

1 / 7
Info Close

Suleman Anaya has interviewed Max von Werz for PIN–UP magazine’s 31st print issue. With portrait photography by Rosie Marks. Follow this link to order a copy.

Baja Club Hotel, La Paz


1 / 16
Info Close

Location:  La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Client:  Grupo Habita
Gross area:  3,625 m2
Phases:  Concept design – construction documentation
Interior design:  JAUNE
Landscape design:  PAAR
Lighting design:  Luca Salas
Structural engineering:  DECSA
MEP engineering:  TALLER2M
Construction:  GRAVI
Construction supervision:  Luis Olachea Arquitectos
Architecture photography:  César Béjar
Steel concept model:  Taller Tornel
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

Located on a beautiful plot of coastal promenade in the historic center of La Paz, Baja Club entails a 32-room lifestyle hotel for Grupo Habita. Blending old with new, the project includes the adaptive reuse of a pre-existing colonial-style villa dating from 1910 as well as the construction of a newly built 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 thereby resulting in an ensemble that loosely frames a central courtyard. The material palette throughout the project draws on the property’s original detailing, including artisanal terrazzo and talavera tiles, hand-finished timber latticework and carpentry, and blown glass lamps. The tiered massing of the extension reduces its visual bulk and provides generous terraces enjoying panoramic views of the Bay of La Paz. Subtle nautical connotations such as the new build’s horizontal streamlining and the use of prominent wood elements throughout the project play on the maritime context of the hotel. The building’s vertical circulation is resolved by means of a generous helical staircase positioned at the hinge point between the two wings of the new building. Cantilevered reinforced concrete floor plates lend further lightness to the building and in turn serve as outdoor corridors, balconies and passive shading elements reducing solar heat gain and the dependence on mechanical air conditioning.

Baja Club has received the following recognitions:

Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2021: winner
(hotel architecture 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 and short-stay interior category)

Brechstube, Germany

Single family house

1 / 20
Info Close

Location:  Pfifferloh, Bavaria, Germany
Gross area:  250 m2
Phases:  Concept design – Construction permits
Status:  Built
Construction design & supervision:  Anja Eckert / Architekturbüro Stephan Wildgruber
Photography:  Florian Holzherr
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

This project entails the extension to a heritage–listed Bavarian barn dating back to the 18th century. The client brief required that the original construction be upgraded into a fully functional country house. In close dialogue with the local heritage authorities, a strategy was developed to keep the original construction 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 building.

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 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.

Calle Praga, Mexico City

Mixed use development

1 / 10
Info Close

Project in partnership with Josué Palma / uptac
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
Visualisation:  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.

Calle Colima, Mexico City


Max von Werz Architects has been appointed to develop a conservation project for a Porfirio–era townhouse in the Roma Norte neighbourhood of Mexico City.

1 / 1

SR61, Mexico City

Collective housing

1 / 8
Info Close

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

Our competition proposal for this residential development in the colonia Reforma Social neighborhood of Mexico City envisions a staggered composition of slender building slabs in order to reduce visual bulk and optimize the 21 apartments’ views, natural lighting and cross ventilation.

Casa Cieneguita, San Miguel

Single family house

1 / 16
Info Close

Location:  Cieneguita, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
Gross area:  215 m2
Phases:  Concept design – Construction documentation
Status:  Under construction (completion due 2020)
Interior design:  Ted Wolter / Wabi San Miguel de Allende
Photography: César Béjar
Physical model:  Enrique Salazar
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

Located in the countryside outside of San Miguel de Allende this project in collaboration with interior designer Ted Wolter of Wabi SMA entails the adaptive reuse and extension of a modest adobe brick structure for its future use as a private home for a furniture and art dealer.

OMR, Mexico City

Art gallery

1 / 17
Info Close

Project in partnership with Mateo Riestra & José Arnaud Bello
Location:  Colonia Roma, Mexico City
Client:  Galería OMR
Gross area:  550 m2
Phases:  Concept design – Construction supervision
Structural engineering:  DECSA
MEP engineering:  TALLER2M
Status:  Built
Photography:  Rory Gardiner

After 30 years in a turn–of–the–century Porfirian villa in Mexico City, the contemporary art gallery OMR decided to move to a new location a few city blocks away, a brutalist building that previously housed Sala Margolin, a music shop dedicated to the sale of records and books.

The design strategy was to preserve the existing building as much as possible, adjusting some interior details so as to bring out the character of its raw architecture and transform it into a generous exhibition space. A vertical new–build extension accommodates all back–of–house functions and is accessed via a staircase that runs alongside a new steel and glass facade facing the rear courtyard. Built on–site using standard steel profiles arranged in rectangular modules this painted facade makes nods to the building’s modernist heritage.

On reaching this second floor, visitors discover a large multipurpose studio space. In keeping with the position of the original skylight, the library becomes a new central light–flooded space that articulates all other functions. Adjacent are offices, a meeting room, a kitchen and a terrace. The latter is the result of a 4–metre setback of the new top floor, acting as a mediating element towards the street, leaving the proportions of the original facade intact and allowing for a discreet intervention.

The result is a sober project that amplifies the character of the original construction whilst preparing it for a new cultural life cycle without resorting to the international conventions of the sterile white cube.

Chicago Architecture Biennial


Max von Werz Architects has contributed to a collaborative piece exhibited at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

1 / 2
Info Close

Size:  145 x 40 x 20cm
Physical model:  Enrique Salazar
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

Our contribution to this collaborative piece initiated and curated by Tatiana Bilbao Estudio for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial recombined diverse patterns of vertical circulation in the form of a monolithic stair that transcends its simple function of connecting by generating a varied architectural promenade that encourages slow leisurely exploration and contemplation.

Tatiana Bilbao Estudio’s description of the collaborative piece: “Our proposal attempts to reconcile vertical urbanization within a tower typology capable of fostering a city’s civic character. Since cities are not the product of a singular vision, but patchworks of spatialized historical layers, the project attempts to emulate this process by subdividing the tower into 192 plots and collaborating with fourteen collaborators – each responsible for designing their own plot while maintaining a connection to neighboring sections. Each piece puts forth a vision for the design of the tower and the construction of a city, realizing a three-dimensional matrix of possibilities.”

The collaborative piece was acquired in 2021 by SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) and taken into its permanent collection.

Calle Platon, Mexico City


1 / 6
Info Close

Project in partnership with Ingrid von Werz
Location:  Colonia Polanco, Mexico City
Gross area:  310 m2
Phases:  Concept design – Construction documentation
Status:  Built
Photography:  Mauricio Guillén, with art direction by Beda Achermann

This project constitutes the extensive refurbishment of a full-story apartment in a building designed by the Russian–Mexican architect Vladimir Kaspé and completed in 1958. The tripartite staggering of the south–facing facade of the building makes room for generous exterior balconies that complement the interconnected dining and living room spaces. Our refurbishment includes a full and faithful restoration of the apartment‘s midcentury fittings and finishes, preserving the residence’s original spirit while bringing up to date the design and technical installations of the kitchen and bathrooms. Other interventions include elements and fixed furniture such as doors, windows, fireplace, planters, desk and shelving.

FICA, Mexico City

Temporary pavilion

1 / 6
Info Close

Project in partnership with RZERO
Location:  Colonia Centro, Mexico City
Client:  Coordinación General de Asuntos Internacionales
Gross area:  4,350 m2
Phases:  Competition by invitation (2nd place)
Visualisation:  VIA / Antonio Espinoza Velasco
Physical model:  MEENT
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

The “Feria Internacional de las Culturas Amigas” is an annual event that takes place on the main square of Mexico City dedicated to the dissemination of 94 countries’ customs and traditions. Our proposal for the architectural intervention of its 2017 edition envisages an ensemble of 6 pavilions that loosely frame a sequence of public spaces capable of absorbing and dispersing the 3.5 million visitors who attend the event in a time period of merely two weeks. By reconfiguring a standardised tent system used for temporary events, the project develops its own geometric vocabulary open to multiple readings such as zoomorphic forms similar to those occurring in the work of the artist Mathias Goeritz or the play of valleys and ridges and visual layering which occurs in the natural landscape of the valley of Mexico City.

Tomás Moro school, CDMX

Mixed use infrastructure

1 / 2
Info Close

Project in partnership with Luis Castellá
Location:  Colonia Cuajimalpa, Mexico City
Client:  Colegio 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.

Casa del Lago, CDMX

Public space

1 / 5
Info Close

Project in partnership 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 thirteen 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.

MUNET, Mexico City

Technology museum

1 / 4
Info Close

Project in partnership 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.

Helmut von Werz monograph


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

1 / 7
Info Close

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

Ytterby house, Sweden

Single family house

1 / 9
Info Close

Location:  Ytterby, Stockholm archipelago, Sweden
Gross area:  65 m2
Phases:  Concept design – Construction documentation
Status:  Built
Visualisation:  Albert De Franco
Physical Model: Enrique Salazar
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

The project entails the refurbishment and energetic retrofitting of a boathouse from approximately 1900 in order to function as a guest house. Similar to a boat, numerous functions – reception, kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, study and 2 bedrooms – are accommodated in a highly efficient and compact manner over merely 65 m2 of floor area distributed over two floor levels. Panoramic windows provide views onto the water of the surrounding archipelago.

Europan 10, Vienna

Collective housing masterplan

1 / 3
Info Close

Project in partnership with Sam Jacoby, Charles Peronnin & Marco Sanchez Castro
Location:  Vienna, Austria
Client:  Europan
Gross area:  100,920 m2
Phases:  Competition
Visualisation:  Albert De Franco
Physical model:  Enrique Salazar
Model photography:  Rodrigo Chapa

The fundamental drive for suburban living is to find a balance between urban commodity and rural environment. Our design for this 10.7 acre site on the outskirts of Vienna establishes a planning framework that encourages the development of verdant open spaces. A network of buildings frame a series of interconnected courtyards that are available to residents for a variety of leisure uses.

LEX Walsall, United Kingdom

Mixed use development

1 / 3
Info Close

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

Sprüth Magers, London

Art gallery

1 / 3
Info Close

Project in partnership with Serie Architects
Location:  Mayfair, London, United Kingdom
Client:  Sprüth Magers
Gross 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 Sprueth 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.