- Architects: SKETCH
- Location: Calle 12 Este & Av. B, Panama
- Team: Johann Wolfschoon, Carlos Chen, Daniela Manfredi, Anthony Flores, Diego Segundo
- Area: 57480.0 ft2
- Project Year: 2018
- Photographs: Fernando Alda
Text description provided by the architects. La Moderna is a mixed-use building built in 1962 on one of the main avenues of the Old Town of Panama City. The building has a modernist influence that is marked in the design of its original façade, in the way it is implanted in the ground, as well as in the logic of the existing structure. In 2014, at the beginning of the design process, the interiors and the structure of the building were seriously deteriorated and with moisture problems in their upper levels due to faults in their waterproofing.
The design strategy consisted mainly in the rescue of the original spirit of the building to recover the building and its original uses, updating it to the comforts and technical requirements of today. In the lower levels, previously used areas have been rescued as deposits to be transformed into commercial premises that contribute to the urban quality of the neighborhood. A total of seven commercial premises occupy the basement, the ground floor, and the mezzanine. At the basement level, a roofed bazaar is created that serves as a covered terrace for commercial premises on this level, which is accessed through the side street, which has a steep slope.
The façade towards this street has been redesigned so that it is related to what happens on the first floor of the building, and roofed balconies are generated behind the sunroofs, bringing life to the city and creating a visual relationship with the adjacent building. Towards the main avenue, the main lobby is located that leads to the levels of office and apartments and commercial premises of two levels.
The first floor has a free floor that will be used for offices and serves as a connecting element between the access floor and the apartment level. The slab on this level has been reinforced structurally to preserve the original slab and increase the useful life of the building. From this place, you can begin to observe distant views towards the city and the sea, and framed views of the neighborhood through its stepped façade. The original apartments on the top floor have been demolished to completely waterproof the slab and in its place, 12 compact apartment units have been designed that are located on the floor taking advantage of the unique features of each façade of the building.
To the east there are 5 apartments with views of the Gulf of Panama and Panama City, in the center of the plant are located 3 apartments with more private internal gardens, and to the west there are 4 apartments that take advantage of the stepped façade to have large covered balconies that look towards Avenida B and the rest of the Old Town. The building seeks to serve as a current model of mixed-use buildings that proposes compact and efficient apartment solutions that respond to the needs of the public and the characteristics of the real estate market through the recovery of a structure in the city center.