United States Consulate General, Nogales Mexico

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United States Consulate General, Nogales Mexico

Providing shelter from the harsh Sonoran Desert sun, an oversized ramada responds to the regional climate and culture, while also providing the Diplomatic community with a comfortable, welcoming, and protected environment that expresses the spirit and values of the United States.

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Nogales serves as an important point of entry to the U.S. and is Arizona’s largest border community. Located five kilometers from the Arizona border, the new U.S. Consulate Nogales, Mexico is situated between commercial and residential districts on a steep hilltop site with expansive mountain views. With limited street frontage, the consulate is primarily seen from a distance and is an important symbol of U.S. interest in the region. 

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The horizontal plane is the language of shade and shelter. In the desert, a screen, a canopy, a tree or roof can protect us from extreme heat and harsh sunlight. Inspired by the local architectural precedent of ramadas, quickly assembled shade structures created by stacking ocotillo cacti branches overhead, a large-scale roof canopy shades the new Consulate and creates a welcoming and civic presence for the community. The steel and aluminum ramada visually anchors the building to the landscape, increases perceived thermal comfort, and is a sustainable and resilient feature that reduces the building cooling load by 20%.

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Community programs open onto a shaded northeast-facing terrace with views of the mountains and the U.S. beyond. The building encourages community well-being through integration of a wide and gracious ornamental stair at the heart of the building.  Locally inspired materials, selected for their connection to the desert, are used to highlight the importance of shade as a refuge form the strong Sonoran sun.  

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Prioritizing the significance of consular affairs on the surrounding community, the monumental consular lobby highlights the civic importance of the space. The Consular Arrival Court is designed as protected environment, compressed and intimate with shaded circulation paths and seating for the hundreds of daily visitors.

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Nogales, Mexico
Consulate Office Building: 5,788 GSM / 62,300 GSF; Site: 8.45 Acres
Offices, Consular Services, Cafeteria, Multipurpose Room, Recreational Facilities, Warehouse, Shops, Entrance Pavilions, Parking Garage, Utility Building


Ennead Design Team
Richard Olcott, Kevin McClurkan, Kate Mann, Felicia Berger, Kristen Alexander, Edward Chang, Janice Leong, Sandra Marcatili, Stephanie Mauer, Amy Mielke, Dipen Patel, Lynette Salas, Suzanne Troiano, Margaret Tyrpa, Henry Weintraub, Fernando Suarez