rising to a total height of 15 meters, the ‘madero café’ appears as a monolithic red object next to one of the most heavily trafficked highways in guatemala city. the restaurant’s otherwise neutral exterior is punctured only with protruding cars, which appear to have collided with the giant cube. the façade serves as a roadside landmark, designed to amuse drivers as they zoom by or sit stationary in a traffic jam.


all images by marcelo gutierrez

 

 

however, it’s inside the eatery where the project comes to life. conceived by taller KEN, the project’s vibrant interior is layered with textures and colors, forming an oasis-like escape from the outside world. ‘this project mines local patterns, materials and textures and collects them to make a fresh tropical atmosphere,’ explains the design team.


the project’s vibrant interior is layered with textures and colors

 

 

the central space is illuminated by sawtooth skylights, while rainwater from the roof is collected in blue tanks and is used to maintain the tropical planting. meanwhile, a custom-made concrete tile has been used for the flooring with a seemingly random pattern that serves as a wayfinding guide — allowing people to circulate around the service core of kitchen and bathrooms, and explore the café’s various quirks.


the café forms an oasis-like escape from the outside world

 

 

conceived as a ‘greenhouse’, the diner is open-air with no glass partition separating it from the adjacent walkways. the exterior features custom operable folding shutters comprised of steel panels inter-woven with dowels. this façade clads the majority of the building, giving the impression of a unified whole when seen from all sides.


the central space is illuminated by sawtooth skylights


rainwater from the roof is collected and used to maintain the tropical planting


booths form more secluded areas


a custom-made concrete tile has been used for the flooring


conceived as a ‘greenhouse’, the diner is open-air


the ‘madero café’ appears as a monolithic red block


the restaurant is next to one of the most heavily trafficked highways in guatemala city


floor plan / level 0


 section

 

 

project info:

 

lead architects: gregory melitonov, ines guzman
location: guatemala city, guatemala
completed: 2016
gross built area: 450 sqm / 4,844 sqf
other participants: corporation merino S.A., ingenia D y C, desino y dibujo, perfecto carpenteria
photography: marcelo gutierrez

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