Variance and Beauty - Alberto Kalach

Posted by Ricardo Diaque on

The design landscape of Mexico often exposes the contrast between massively over-populated areas consumed by poverty, and adjacent areas of immense wealth and privilege. It is imperative that architects and designers approach their construction of both shared and private spaces with a utilitarian awareness in order to subsist the beauty and permanence of Mexico’s architectural offerings.

Mexican-born architect Alberto Kalach, and his architectural firm, TAX (Taller De Arquitectura “X”), aim to develop a design process that is “devoted to transcend the unavoidable geographic, economic and temporal constraints” of his projects. His ideological approach interrogates the spaces he works around and within by creating site-specific concepts that blend into the natural environment. With a youthful team working at his side, Alberto Kalach has forged an important primacy in contemporary architecture by erecting structures that celebrate the creative process itself. Embracing an ongoing dialogue that incorporates ideals of growth, simplicity, texture and light, the organic nature of his design landscape often features fractal gardens and dancing geometries.

While setting aside traditional Mexican architectural aesthetics, Kalach embraces a universal memory that better resembles the work of his modernist and brutalist predecessors. To most spectators of his work, the infamous Biblioteca Vasconcelos remains at the top of the list in the masterpieces Kalach has created. The library features a disarmingly grand piece by the notorious Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, and catches the natural human gaze upon immediate entry into the space’s opening vestibule. The structural order of the bookshelves found throughout appear as if they are floating in boxes, and aim to confuse the eye. Other renowned works by Kalach include his Torre 41, a stable, sophisticated, and seductive edifice in the heart of Mexico City. Torre 41 is empirically the most resourceful of Kalach's buildings for a simple reason: the mastery of his craft confined to a small setting. Torre 41 boasts a triple height lobby, flexible structural configuration, and concrete facades supported by steel mezzanines. The site can be best characterized by its warm atmosphere largely devoid of ornament - it is no coincidence that it remains the place where Kalach holds his place of work today.

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