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Camino Real Hotel Mexico City


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500,000 sq. feet
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Project Description


The client’s initial idea for this site adjacent to Chapultepec Park was a complex of modern high-rise buildings, conventional and undistinguished. A hotel seemed like the ideal use for the site. Legorreta, reacting to the coldness and unfriendliness of most hotels, decided to imbue this design with a unique personality and the feeling of true Mexican culture that would evoke a Mexican home.

A study of bearing walls and the effect of earthquakes on buildings in Mexico City resulted in a maximum reasonable height of five stories. This height accommodated the required number of guest rooms and public spaces with open spaces between them, as well as integrating with the urban environment.

The design shields the hotel interior from the hustle of major streets on three sides but connects with the life of a small shopping street on the fourth side. The building is thus a sanctuary that provides privacy and peace for its occupants. On one side, a bright yellow arcade edged with trees connects the interior public retail activities with the street. The wall is broken on the main street facade by a shocking pink screen. The visitor enters through this screen into the tranquil environment of a motor court that is visually dominated by an oversize fountain. One then passes from this calming enclave into the spacious lobby.

The generously proportioned public spaces invite circulation. Space flows around grand staircases. The architect left the large spaces empty and concentrated user interest in the corners, which are activated with minimal furnishings to appeal to the human scale. Space is the luxury of our time.

To revive the pleasure of walking, the design requires that hotel guests walk considerable distances to the guest rooms; the circulation spaces were designed to provide a sense of luxury through manipulation of light, materials, and color. Rough plastered walls, common in Mexican vernacular architecture, lend dignity to the interiors. Guest rooms face either the central court or private patios, gardens or rooftop terraces.
The exterior courts and terraces were carefully designed to connect indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as to provide places for public use. Each open space offers a different motif, landscape and activities. These courtyards contain pools or recreation centers (active) and pergolas, gardens and rooftop terraces (passive).
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