At the Hotel Purificadora in Mexico, raw materials help old and new blend seamlessly
It’s just too often that building renovations or additions appear in complete disjunction with the original design. The Hotel Purificadora tells a different story, fortunately. Located in Puebla, Mexico, and designed by Serrano Manjaraz Arquitectos and Legorreta + Legorreta, this is a luxury hotel that combines two centuries to yield beauty.
The hotel is located within Puebla’s historical centre and is considered one of the town’s major historical heritage points. The renovation modernised the original structure of a 19th-century ice factory and water purification plant, all the while keeping its historical integrity intact, especially by means of timeless materials.
“The new walls of the building were constructed respecting the ancient methods according to National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico rules and regulations for a structure such as this one. We had the opportunity to develop a new construction in the heart of a very powerful ruin, showing that modern architecture may find answers in valuable structures,” says architect Juan Pablo Serrano of Serrano Monjaraz Arquitectos.
Furthermore, when an archaeologist found glass pieces belonging to the original building during the remodeling process, the architectural team incorporated them into La Purificadora’s design.
The mixture of materials is something to consider. The façades and interiors contain rustic materials of plaster, stone, and wood throughout. Inside, massive sections of tiles are arranged in special designs on guestroom floors, and finishing touches in onyx decorate the restrooms. But of course where would we be without some glass and steel to complete the contemporary touches in the design?
“The most difficult part of this project was to interact with the 16th century perimetre wall of the Saint Francis convent orchard and the 19th century industrial structure. It’s both a very important part of Puebla’s heritage and a vital icon of the historic centre of the city,” he says.
The site comprises 3,000 sq-m, with 711 sq-m dedicated to exteriors. Inside are more than two dozen guestrooms, a lobby, bookstore, restaurant/bar, kitchen, ballroom, patio open to a four-storey height, business centre, and wine cellar. Amenities include a pool — which to onlookers appears as if its inhabitants are floating through air —, a terrace for professional events, a gym and jacuzzi, and massage and steam rooms.
Click here for more about the project’s Unesco World Heritage connection.
This article originally ran in Perspective, a Hong Kong-based space design magazine.