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Gallery OMR Mexico City exhibition room Stylepark
The ceiling as an eye-catcher: Exhibition room of the Galeria OMR in Mexico City
© Rory Gardiner
The ceiling as an eye-catcher: Exhibition room of the Galeria OMR in Mexico City

Standing on top of Brutalism

Architects Mateo Riestra, José Arnaud Bello and Max von Werz converted a former brutalist record store in Mexico City into an art gallery.
by Fabian Peters | 7/26/2017

A building in Mexico City that falls within the ambit of brutalism and which mainly consists of a hall-like inside room with an impressive concrete coffered ceiling – that was the background to the task facing architects Mateo Riestra, José Arnaud Bello and Max von Werz. The brief: to convert the “Sala Margolin”, a former record store in the Colonia Roma district, on behalf of renowned Galeria OMR.

Galeria OMR Mexico City Street facade
Street façade of the building after the conversion
© Rory Gardiner
Street façade of the building after the conversion
Galeria OMR Mexico City exhibition room
Street-side entry of the exhibition room.
© Rory Gardiner
Street-side entry of the exhibition room.

With special attention being paid to the former sales hall with the concrete ceiling, the brief focused on largely preserving the edifice unchanged, and in addition creating more exhibition spaces, offices, multi-purpose areas, and a library.

Galeria OMR Mexico City exhibition room
During the conversion the skylight was shielded.
© Rory Gardiner
During the conversion the skylight was shielded.

Actually, the only way to house all these desired spaces in the building was to add a story to the existing building. To create access to the new top floor, along the entire length of the building at the rear a slender annex was added, boasting a glass frontage along the entire side facing the inner courtyard. The annex contains not just the staircase, but also the sanitary facilities and a bar that opens onto the courtyard.

Galeria OMR Mexico City rear side
On the back of the house a glazed annex was added along the entire length of the building.
© Rory Gardiner
On the back of the house a glazed annex was added along the entire length of the building.
Galeria OMR Mexico City rear side detail
The annex houses the staircase that creates access to the new story.
© Rory Gardiner
The annex houses the staircase that creates access to the new story.

The new story is set back from the line of the façade on the street side, thus leaving an open space for a roof terrace accessed from the offices. 

Galeria OMR Mexico City Office
View of the new office room with a terrace
© Rory Gardiner
View of the new office room with a terrace

By contrast, the multi-purpose space for exhibitions and events runs flush with the courtyard. In-between is a small library that the architects have linked in a very special way to the large hall of the old build underneath it: It has exactly the same dimensions as the large skylight in the concrete coffered ceiling that was blocked up for the conversion work and replaced by a back-lit glass cover.

Galeria OMR Mexico City multi-purpose room
The multi-purpose room at the top floor facing the courtyard with a glass front.
© Rory Gardiner
The multi-purpose room at the top floor facing the courtyard with a glass front.
Galeria OMR Mexico City Library
The library at the top floor
© Rory Gardiner
The library at the top floor
Galeria OMR Mexico City top floor
View from the multi-purpose room towards the street side of the building
© Rory Gardiner
View from the multi-purpose room towards the street side of the building
Galeria OMR Mexico City Ground floor
Ground floor
© Mateo Riestra, José Arnaud Bello, Max von Werz
Ground floor
Galeria OMR Mexico City Mezzanine floor
Mezzanine floor
© Mateo Riestra, José Arnaud Bello, Max von Werz
Mezzanine floor
Galeria OMR Mexico City Top floor
Top floor
© Mateo Riestra, José Arnaud Bello, Max von Werz
Top floor
Galeria OMR Mexico City section
Section
© Mateo Riestra, José Arnaud Bello, Max von Werz
Section