Hitzig Militello Architects’ Manduca Market inaugurated in Buenos Aires

Hitzig Militello Arquitectos,

Alejandro Peral,

Buenos Aires,

Shopping Centers,

Landscaping, Refurbishment,

Argentinian studio Hitzig Militello Architects has come up with a new attraction for Paseo La Plaza, a cultural and shopping complex in the San Nicolás district of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Manduca Market brings new life to this popular place, staying true to the studio’s tradition of drawing on local history and references.

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Hitzig Militello Architects’ Manduca Market inaugurated in Buenos Aires 
Working in the setting of an existing construction is always a major challenge, especially if the project is in a public place with a long history, as in the case of Manduca Market, the most recent project by award-winning Argentinian studio Hitzig Militello Architects.
Known to our readers for many years for their restaurant projects, the studio emphasises visual and conceptual storytelling to create unique, vibrant atmospheres. This time the team worked in Paseo la Plaza, which the architects describe as a place that „has always captivated us locals for its enigmatic urban space, whose language empathises with the collective imaginary of the heterogeneous nature of a city, especially one like Buenos Aires.“
The characteristic features of the plaza in the complex are unbuilt space, air and vegetation, with cobblestone alleys and buildings emulating an old village. This unique character, much appreciated by the customers who enjoy spending time here, inspires the 1200-square-metre Manduca Market project, which maintains the priority of "Paseo la Plaza: The Square" while perfectly integrating "Manduca Market" into its surroundings.
Hitzig Militello Architects considered it important to maintain the heterogeneous nature of the tectonic and formal aspects of the buildings, even while ensuring that their volumes blended in with the rest of the complex. They implemented dark colours so that the building that defines the new use as a market is differentiated not only by its light tones, but also by its tectonics.
How to combine the new addition with the existing complex? The architects opted to underline their project with a contemporary idiom, creating the dynamic tension the complex required to be attractive. The new element referred to as the "metal strip" is, as the name suggests, made of sheet metal; it stands between planted flower beds, containing 10 façades of commercial premises designated as windows of the old sidewalk bars. The project also includes the street furniture in front of the windows, while areas for public use by customers of the complex invite passers-by to gather and interact.
The pavement changes colour to reflect its changing urban surroundings: from the white, like sidewalks in front of the premises, to grey and then black, two colours flowing like a stream to accompany us into the central area. The landscaped areas along the walkway have been unified, with a diagonal layout connecting the common areas on both sides of the market.
Greenery plays a prominent role in the Manduca Market project, with its presence improving the local microclimate and people’s psychological and physical well-being. Because of this, the large landscaped areas along the perimeter of the tower have been modified to permit use via an accessible, absorbent pavement. The plants in the new flower beds are strictly native species, ensuring easy maintenance and limiting water consumption.
New tensile structures cover a part of the common area, providing shelter from the sun and rain to ensure maximum comfort for users in the picnic area.
Hitzig Militello Architects’ Manduca Market for Paseo La Plaza in Buenos Aires confirms the studio’s vocation for creating high quality public places inspired by knowledge of history and, above all, respect for their surroundings.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Hitzig Militello Architects
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Year: 2022
Images: Alejandro Peral