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Edificio Tonala 15

Striking in its simplicity, Edificio Tonalá 15 fits into Mexico City’s historic Roma neighbourhood like a missing puzzle piece. Local firm CRB Arquitectos cleverly maximized its modest footprint, fitting four units per floor (including short-term, medium-term and permanent housing) onto the triangular plot. The project wasn’t without its challenges: Low soil resistance meant the tower required a very deep foundation, prompting the engineers to devise an innovative structure consisting of 40-metre foundation piles, prefab formwork casting and a seismic isolation system.

Edificio Tonala 15

The resulting building is defined by the rhythm, symmetry and sensitivity to scale characteristic of CRB’s portfolio. Rounded at the street corner and subtly chamfered at ground level, the 12-storey pyramidal tower thoughtfully opens up to the street in dialogue with a public plaza that animates the urban realm. Conceived as a “vertical oasis” with greenery from top to bottom, the tower generates clean air for the city.

“It is as striking and honest in person as it is in pictures — cohesive, inside and out.”
Héctor Esrawe, AZ Awards 2024 Juror
Edificio Tonala 15

Minimalist forms allow the materials to shine. The earth-toned concrete structure, which highlights the building’s curves and angles while creating a clean and simple grid on the street-facing facades, will develop a rich patina over time. This same approach is harmoniously translated to the interior: Elegantly sober, the lobby features a soothing monochromatic palette that becomes warmer and more welcoming on the upper levels. CRB collaborated with Estudio M:A to design the furnished units, weaving together traditional Mexican textiles, lighting, wicker basketry and wood.

Edificio Tonala 15

In many multi-unit buildings, circulation is a means to an end, but at Edificio Tonalá 15, it is the destination. The carefully choreographed route begins in the public plaza, then proceeds past the ground-level commercial spaces and lobby to the panoramic elevators and stairs. Not only do the vertical cores provide natural cross-ventilation, they also offer stunning street views — and an architectural highlight. The ribbed, pigmented concrete structure contrasts with the sculptural black steel stair to conjure a moody ambience that culminates at the rooftop garden, one of many common spaces designed to foster connection and quality of life.

Team: Sebastián Canales with Javier Rivero Borrell, Regina Kuri, Carmen Alfaro, Alejandra Álvarez; Óliver Ubando (Ubando Ingeniería); Secuencia; and Estudio M:A

Winner: Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
People’s Choice: Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
Edificio Tonalá 15

Conceived as a “vertical oasis” with greenery from top to bottom, Edificio Tonalá 15 is striking in its simplicity.

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2019
People’s ChoiceMulti-Unit Residential Buildings
Location
Mexico City, Mexico
Firm
BAAQ, Mexico
2016
Award of MeritMulti-Unit Residential Buildings
Location
Montreal, Canada
Firm
Atelier Big City, Canada
2022
Award of MeritMulti-Unit Residential Buildings
Location
Tokyo, Japan
Firm
Tsukagoshi Miyashita Sekkei, Japan