In the 1920s, a French architect enjoyed all the whims of a Cuban aristocrat, designing what we know today as the Museum of Decorative Arts, but at that time it was only a private home. On one of the sides of this building, the Copperbridge Foundation requested that they grant it to make their new headquarters there. The assigned space consisted of 3 different but connected outdoor areas.

Surrounded by neoclassical statues and “orderly” vegetation, we were asked for a program that would encapsulate activities such as restaurant, gallery, offices, Convention Center, etc. Contrary to the client’s pre-formulated idea, our response was based on reinforcing what was already happening abroad, instead of building a new architectural object. We thought that the real attraction of the place should remain the garden.

We concentrated the program in a main room and a bar 3.2m wide in the boundary between the 2 courtyards, amplifying the differences between them by widening the wall that separated them. The remaining program is located by amplifying to the maximum the existing service area that was hidden behind another wall, giving space for another narrow and deep room and the kitchen. In this way the architecture functions as an infrastructure of the exterior, as a machine that redefines the external functions and intensifies the existing garden, instead of being an object in itself.

That’s how we maintain the built area in the limits of the garden space encompassing in the lengthway the biggest visual contact surface with the garden to make an stronger relations with the exterior. Our personal obsession is architecture performance as infrastructure, as a platform of events.

By Anadis González / David Medina / Fernando Martirena / Gerardo Guillén