S-AR combines concrete, steel and wood for all-white art gallery in mexico

AAF Gallery in Mexico by S-AR

Architecture firm S-AR reveals ‘Galería AAF’, an all-white art gallery located in Monterrey, Mexico. The aim of this project is to distribute the exhibition spaces in a small three-story structure and investigate different constructive systems and materials for each story while keeping the same architectural concept.
all images by Ana Cecilia Garza Villarreal

construction system and functions

On the first floor, S-AR (see more here) has allocated a public area for readings and lectures, as well as a kitchen to help prepare exhibition openings. In addition, there is also a room for artist residencies, featuring its own bathroom and patio. This level employs a construction system based on unfinished cinder block walls and steel deck slabs on white-painted IPR beams. The enclosures are made specifically for this building made from wood, aluminum, glass, and metal mesh.

The second level houses an open-plan exhibition area designed to showcase a range of artworks and interventions. This level has walls finished in plaster, white paint, and a reticular reinforced concrete slab with coffered formwork that was left exposed. On the third floor, a reading area also serves as an office and meeting room. This space is clad with strips of pine wood and a ceiling slab of exposed, bare concrete. The gallery is crowned with an open-air patio that also serves as a lookout point when the metal doors are opened.

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All these spaces are positioned at the center of the plot, leaving the vertical circulation routes on the side of the adjacent property open. Meanwhile, the other side of the building forms a lateral patio letting light into the ground floor. This establishes a contrast with the dark ambiance of the circulation block, where two contrasting staircases form single flights: a concrete staircase in the first section and a timber one in the second.

The upper levels receive daylight from the shorter sides of the volume, through folding doors that can be adjusted to provide more or less light and privacy, and also form alternating front and rear façades. The south-facing lateral wall is clad with corrugated metal to provide a thermal barrier to solar gain. Combined with the polystyrene-filled blocks used in the walls, this helps to keep interiors fresh during the city’s warmest months.

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