Within These Walls

Within These Walls

The Liverpool department store at the intersection of Insurgentes and Felix Cuevas Avenues in Mexico City is a cube composed of layers of hexagons. The hexagons are of different sizes and colors. There are hexagons and hexagon cutouts and hexagon extrusions – rooms big enough to stand and walk around in.
The “deep wall” surrounding this store has three main layers, the middle layer being deep enough to contain some occupiable spaces. The innermost and outermost layers are each composed of several layers of different materials including aluminum, steel, glass and glass fiber composite. The composite is a black-painted layer of hexagons on the inner layer of the wall.
The architect, Michel Rojkind, notes on his website that the location occupied by the store was formerly an important urban open space. Additionally, there is a new subway line with a stop on the corner, creating a great deal of foot traffic. Rojkind felt that a big, closed box of a store would be wrong, and he created something that relates the interior to the exterior.
The wall is visually very porous. Seen from the outside, it gives a sense that there is no hard boundary between the inside of the store and the street around it, just a hive-structure that is complex and random enough that you can’t quite see all the way through it.
In fact, what has really been done is to pull various functional spaces within the store outwards, through the wall, right up to the street: sitting spaces, eating spaces, retail spaces.
By treating the wall this way, Rojkind suggests that a wall may have structural importance, but it does not have to be an instrument of concealment, or a barrier. He (seemingly) makes the entire building public space again.