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Emilio Alvarez Abouchard Arquitectura, Fabrik, Mexiko

Rough Shell, Gleaming Core: Factory Building in Morelia

Emilio Alvarez Abouchard calls his new factory building, which stands in an industrial park on the outskirts of Morelia, Nave Industrial RX. This can be translated, more or less, as “X-ray Factory”. However, it is not x-ray machines that are manufactured here. Rather, components made of cast steel are examined for even the tiniest fissures and flaws. The building, which is located on a sloping lot and accommodates 120 employees, is divided into two parts. The administrative wing faces the valley; behind this and set a bit higher up is the factory hall itself, whose slightly wedge-shaped floor plan follows the irregular borders of the lot.

Most of the northwest side has been covered with a steel-skeleton façade clad with glass bricks; these fill the offices, meeting rooms and bathrooms with bright, diffuse light. The vertical window bands are fitted with matte glass and thus provide ventilation more than they offer a view outside.

The factory hall has exposed-concrete walls that are up to a metre thick in order to protect the surroundings from the radioactive waves from the x-ray apparatus. Moreover, a yellow fence in the hall should keep workers from coming too close to the machine. Towards the ceiling, the protective effect diminishes somewhat: slender lattice girders of steel support a trapezoidal roof of sheet metal interspersed with strips of skylights. At the edge of the roof, a band of steel slats goes around the entire structure: this will supply the factory hall with fresh air.

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