Taking inspiration from Mexico’s vibrant character, Perkins&Will created a studio that seamlessly blends innovation with tradition.
With a legacy of designing projects in Mexico dating back to the late 1950s, Perkins&Will made a strategic investment to establish the firm’s newest studio in the heart of Monterrey. A fresh introduction to the Mexican market for Perkins&Will, this studio was designed to capture the essence of the firm’s craft and demonstrate how the team utilizes and experiences their workspace. At the same time, drawing inspiration from Mexico’s unique character and entrepreneurial industries, such as steel, concrete, glass, and brewing, designers set out to create a space that harmonizes innovation and tradition.
The project presented the unique opportunity to create a living lab, with the studio itself as proof of the benefits of flexible, modern features advocated by the design firm to clients.
Monterrey stood out to Perkins&Will as fertile ground for the new studio for multiple reasons. Among many strengths, the city is distinguished by an abundance of university architecture programs. Leveraging the availability of exceptional talent played a significant role in the firm’s decision to establish local relationships. Additionally, Perkins&Will’s dedicated investment in research and development has fostered a synergistic partnership with Monterrey’s academic leadership, also paving the way for collaborations with the local community and Mexico’s broader industries.
To support and deepen these bonds, Perkins&Will designed a dedicated space within the Monterrey studio that serves as a hub for design industry events, educational speakers, technical tutorials, and innovation showcases. Strategically positioned at the entry, this gathering space is accompanied by a material library, digital screens, and flexible display systems, offering a platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration. These elements further strengthen the firm’s foundation within the Mexican community while centering continuous efforts to learn and innovate.
The Monterrey studio, the largest project of its kind in Latin America to achieve LEED Platinum certification, also highlights the sustainable practices Perkins&Will is known for. A successful implementation of the firm’s global design leadership, this studio showcases the firm’s commitment to well-being, community integration, and the incorporation of local influences.
Supported by other studios in the Southwest region, the design process aimed to create a forward-looking studio with a strong emphasis on sustainability and inclusion, in line with the core principles of Perkins&Will. Design principals and designers from both Dallas and Austin actively participated in shaping the vision for the studio, fostering a collaborative process with input gathered from a diverse set of employees across the company.
The employees played a crucial role in the planning process, offering their insight and expertise to design a studio that would resonate with the Mexican market and effectively showcase the essence of Perkins&Will. Throughout the planning journey, special research and design requirements were integrated to ensure the firm’s sustainability and inclusivity objectives were met.
Upon entering the studio, visitors are greeted by a concrete wall that extends seamlessly into the reception area. While concrete is a common material, its design in this space exudes a sense of lightness, expansiveness, and integration that is rarely seen. This feature serves as a refreshing yet familiar welcome for the Mexican community and an introduction to the firm’s innovative design thinking. The wall’s directional texture warmly invites visitors inside, while its sculptural benching acts as a communal gathering point.
Recognizing the significance of the kitchen in Mexican culture, designers strategically placed the office kitchen at the heart of the studio, accompanied by a dynamic and flexible gathering area. Warm, exposed, and modest fixtures and finishes were chosen to complement the location’s striking backdrop. The team aimed to strike a balance between highlighting the magnificent mountain vista and inspiring creativity in the workspace through design.
The design team embraced complexity to achieve the project’s sustainability goals. Integrating LEED, Fitwel, and WELL requirements presented unique challenges, and the incorporation of the firm’s Precautionary List introduced an additional layer of complexity, particularly in evaluating local manufacturers. Ultimately, a wellness-focused design was fostered through the implementation of an open-office concept complemented by adjacent space types, and thorough examinations were conducted to address specific features such as indoor air quality and material selection, ensuring compliance with all rating systems. In addition to this LEED v4 IDC project’s LEED Platinum status, the studio received a Fitwel 1-star certification. To further showcase excellence in sustainable design, the studio is also pursuing a WELL certification.
Overall Project Results
With a rare chance to build their culture and workspace from the ground up, the Monterrey studio enjoyed the freedom to shape an environment that aligned with the overarching principles of Perkins&Will. Drawing inspiration from the firm’s values of inclusivity, passion for communities, and commitment to sustainability, the studio embarked on creating a unique identity for itself. As pioneers in the Mexican market, the team also had the opportunity to establish meaningful connections with their Latin American clients, fostering deeper relationships and understanding.
This project brought up many challenges—new country, new cultural context, different air quality challenges, a break during construction due to the pandemic—yet it also brought many satisfactory outcomes. A new high-performing home for our Mexico operations, a healthy and active environment for our team, and a statement to the market that sustainability options matter.
After achieving Fitwel 1-Star certification, the studio took further steps to engage staff. A survey was administered to employees to inform and shape the studio’s ongoing development, gathering valuable feedback to maintain a healthy and productive work environment.
- Building Owner – Equus PC
- Architect – ATXK Interior Construction
- MEP and Contractor – MAXTEC