renovating a historic mansion into a boutique hotel
architecture firms anonimous and JAHS have completed the renovation of a neocolonial 1900s mansion in queretaro, mexico, transforming it into a unique hotel with an integrated art gallery. dubbed tá hotel de diseño, the project sits right in front of jardín guerrero, a UNESCO designated site of cultural heritage. the entire architectural concept is anchored on four fundamental strategies: working with pre-existing elements, enhancing the textures and patterns of new materials, introducing greenery throughout the project, and keeping walls and ceilings neutral in order to emphasize the individuality of each space.
all images courtesy of rafael gamo
old elements accentuated by new textures and lush greenery
the renovation by anonimous (find more here) and JAHS takes full advantage of the pre-existing elements, stripping the courtyard and passage walls to reveal their processes, textures, and colors. the architects also rescued the tiles from the sloped terrace roof to reuse them as protagonists in the walls that hide the machine rooms by the pool courtyard. meanwhile, regional gray quarry stone was striated and chiseled to form the exterior flooring at ground level. the interiors feature oak wood floors that are arranged in a herringbone pattern with changing shades as they approach the rooms. upstairs, an IPE wooden deck platform embraces the rooms with bronze-colored steel latticework on the façades and pergolas of the new pavilions, elevating the views facing the immediate context.
greenery was introduced as a compositional element throughout the project. the two courtyards feature local acacias in yellow, blue, and purple, providing character and shade. a new garden on the upper floor showcases nandinas, chaste trees, aralias, ferns, asparagus, jasmine, bottlebrush, and rosemary to soften the harshness of the queretaro sun on the rooftop, while a succulent garden flourishes atop the machine rooms.
respecting the pre-existing façade
throughout the project, the exterior of the house and the pre-existing structure were respected at all times. the architects worked in close collaboration with the national institute of anthropology and history to preserve the quality of the façade and not to alter its identity. in addition, the stucco construction process incorporates historical techniques and oromo gray, a very light and earthy shade that creates a timeless and respectful look with the immediate context and the green of the jardín guerrero square. the entrance hall ends in a large mural, the work of artist mario oliva.
inside, the intimate proportions of the reception area frame the small patio that also serves as an outdoor lobby. from this point on, the pathway through the project transforms into a gallery for temporary exhibitions of local and foreign artists curated by the project’s creators.
a great variety of room configurations and designs
the original layout of the house consists of two courtyards on the first floor, around which eleven rooms, common and service areas are arranged. the east courtyard that was formerly the garage of the house was transformed into a meeting place, consisting of a jacuzzi pool with shower area, a bar, and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace. on the other side, six of the eleven rooms are distributed around the western patio, while two of them are directly connected to the meeting area. the lobby, kitchen, and service areas are located on the same level.
each of the six rooms on the ground floor is unique in its design, size, furnishings, and arrangement. each bathroom highlights a different porcelanosa ceramic tile treatment in textures, colors, and formats, emphasizing the individuality of each room. within the guest rooms that are designed primarily for adults, the sleeping and bathing areas have different proportions and sizes to produce relationships that are sometimes open and sometimes more private.
the upper floor is connected through the west courtyard in a double-height space where the main stairs are located. this vertical circulation is the architectural element that unites the pre-existing element with the new contemporary intervention; its proportions remind visitors of the patios of the neighboring buildings and also reveal the textures of the brick walls of the original construction. this level contains five guest rooms, with the largest located at the west end of the hotel. it boasts a private terrace and jacuzzi where guests can enjoy a greater relationship with the outdoors.
the interior design of the hotel, created in collaboration with architect jesús andrés herrera soto, is characterized by an eclectic mix of materials, colors and styles that interact with the neutrality of the architecture. the bright and transparent colors of the kartell accessories, the fine textures and striking colors of the furnishings by paola lenti, the lighting design by artemide, flos and vibia, and vibrant works by different artists play with the walnut, oak and poplar woodwork gracing the headboards, bureaus, desks and closets in the rooms and in some of the hotel’s common spaces. at the bar, designed by crioll studio, the poplar wood slab was treated with a resin coating that is superimposed over a series of gray quarry blocks from the region.