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Marine Security Guard Residence

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

Photography: Nick Merrick | Hall+Merrick+McCaugherty Photographers

The growing U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez required a new Marine Security Guard detachment to protect and safeguard people, property, and sensitive information.

The residence was to be simultaneously part of the consulate campus while providing a distinct image for the Marines’ home. A regional natural stone, quarried in Kansas, is used as primary cladding material. Visually sympathetic to the materials of the campus, it was integrated into an insulated rainscreen, helping in the building’s thermal performance on the massive concrete structure. The individual pieces of stone, with deep shadowed joints had an authentic materiality and expressiveness that elevates the simple residence. Windows are set 15” into the stone façade for shading and to provide visual depth and movement. Bright yellow window frames add color, scale and craft to the simple façade.

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Operationally, there is a strict separation between the social needs and rest needs of the Marines. The ground level communal space is connected to a private exterior courtyard. Semi-enclosed by a perforated natural stone wall and three canopies, the courtyard is shaded, private and intimate. Native plantings give the Marines a connection to nature in this unique high-desert climate.

With a goal to have the residence on a fully-built compound, strategic thinking was required to allocate available site area to the project without additional property acquisition. By changing the location of the perimeter wall and vehicular drives, the secure buildable area was able to be expanded by 2,800 sft. This site optimization allowed for the addition of the 6,000 sft. Marine Security Guard Residence as well as an expanded event lawn and recreational courts.

Rethinking the design of the whole campus allowed for the addition of this distinctive residence. The byproduct was not only additional security, but better use of space, including expanded landscape and new recreational areas for all employees working in the Consulate.

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