Laguarda.Low Architects, LLC

Laguarda.Low Architects, LLC

New York, NY


BROU Montevideo

An instant icon in downtown Montevideo, this award-winning design for an addition to the existing Bank of the Republic draws from historical and shipyard imagery to define a unique but fundamentally local structure.

The National Bank is an icon in downtown Montevideo, but the structure’s age calls for an optimistic intervention in a new addition that will elevate the Bank to its natural place of prominence in the city, and will set a new standard to elevate the quality of the surrounding area as well.  The old National Bank is the most important component of the historic trinity formed with the Naval Station & Shipyard and the Port of Montevideo. The geometry of the old bank’s gabled roof generated the shape of the new building, so the new bank is integrated seamlessly and is visible from distant vantages. The new structure is interlaced with the geometry of the existing Bank, emphasizing its visibility from Avenue 25 de Agosto. Respecting the alignments of the avenue, the Northwest facade is aligned with the line joining the two opposite corners. Only the ramp breaks the alignment of the property line.

The existing Naval Station & Shipyard will be preserved as public cultural facilities. The new Shipyard Plaza will be an area of recreation for the city. It Includes an amphitheater for outdoor shows, and a wooded area incorporating urban art from national artists. Forming an iconic trinity with the Old Downtown and the old National Bank is the Naval Station and Shipyard, one of Montevideo’s most characteristic buildings by image and size. The port crane, with its functional structure and mechanics of loading and unloading of marine vessels, was the inspiration for the architectural proposal. The National Bank building symbolically unfolds to receive the public, responding to the image of the port, creating a welcoming environment for the public square which displays existing structures and is integrated volumetrically with the old Bank of the Republic and Downtown.

Considering the site’s uniquely important location in front of the port of Montevideo and on Avenue 25 de Agosto, the characteristics of the program called for the structure to be a key element in the shape of Montevideo. It will constitute a unique, iconic and memorable icon cut into the urban landscape, defining a new downtown and direction for Montevideo. Because the site features important historic structures on all sides, one of the most important features of the project is a large public plaza assuring pedestrian access between buildings, embracing the historic buildings and the plaza both horizontally and vertically. Through its form and scale, the building establishes strategies for coexistence with the neighboring bank and historic buildings.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Montevideo, Uruguay