Riddle me this, Batman (assuming that you’re Batman, of course): what happens if the building — in this case in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico — you’re converting into a bar is cataloged as a Historic Monument by the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico, which doesn’t allow ANY modification of the property? Well, you’re limited to only being able to recover the existing architectural elements (in this case, iron and wood) and design the project with complete and absolute fidelity to the original building. Re-purposing and rehabilitating a historic structure can be complicated enough, but the Nauzet Rodríguez team pulled it off real well.
First, the design team recovered a balcony on the façade that was modified years earlier, restored existing doors in the cases via replacement replicas or possible recovery, reconstructed two ceilings in the original image and likeness, fully recovered the original floors and wall finishes. They also installed concealed reinforcing elements (like reinforced concrete enclosures and columns) while retaining the exclusive use of iron and wood to avoid using materials unrelated to the building’s original time and nature. For the exterior area, the team worked to consolidated the spaces as they found them, preserving the visual traces of the building in respect to the passage of time.
The new uses of the property were conditioned by the original construction. The location of the kitchen, the fully open bar area, living room and dining rooms, etc. were adapted to the rooms of the building and its circulation. There’s also a 40 meter stage that can be seen from the street, rooms can be found while walking around the building, while the bar, the walkable pantry, and the kitchen open to the outside garden.