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The Mexican Moment: The Rise of Architecture's Latest Design Capital

On a recent trip abroad, architect and urban planner José Castillo was struck by a conversation with Mexico’s tourism attaché in Asia. Mexican tourism, the attaché remarked, has changed; it was the ancient pyramids and sandy beaches of the country that once drew visitors to it. Today however, architecture and design—and food—prevail.

The issue of food may be of little wonder. Mexican cuisine has indeed become more popular than ever in both the high and low ends of the culinary spectrum, and food in general is not only what one eats for dinner but also a hobby and an obsessive conversation topic. Yet for local design to come to the same level of acclaim and reputation is, at any rate, quite astonishing. It may be, though, that food and architecture are not so far apart. These are both highly creative and productive professions, as well as ones with a rich history, a theory, and many layers of tradition.

La Tallera / Frida Escobedo. Image © Rafael Gamo Zeller & Moye and FR-EE's "Archivo". Image Courtesy of Zeller & Moye Foster + Partners and FR-EE's design for the new Mexico City Airport. Image Courtesy of DBOX for Foster + Partners PRODUCTORA's Auditorio Cuernavaca, with the Teopanzolco Pyramid in the background. Image Courtesy of PRODUCTORA

Rutgers Business School / TEN Arquitectos

  • Architects: TEN Arquitectos - Enrique Norten
  • Location: Parking Lot 51, Rutgers–New Brunswick, Piscataway Township, NJ 08854, USA
  • Design Team: Enrique Norten, James Carse
  • Executive Architect: Richard Bienenfeld Architect, PC
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Peter Aaron / Esto

© Peter Aaron / Esto © Peter Aaron / Esto © Peter Aaron / Esto © Peter Aaron / Esto

Clinton Park / TEN Arquitectos

  • Architects: TEN Arquitectos
  • Location: New York, NY, USA
  • Design Team: Enrique Norten, Tim Dumbleton, Hale Everets, David Maestres, Mark Dwyer, Dieter Schoellnberger, Florian Oberhueber, Pedro Hernandez, Jeffrey Goldberger, Joyce Chang, Angela DeRiggi, Yu-Ju Lin, Jong Seo Lee, Veronica Kan, Yi-Ling Teng, Manta Weihermann, Enrique A. Gomez, Giovanni Sidari, Shai Turner, Daisuke Nagatomo, Masako Saito, Devin Keyes, Paola Morales, Jose Castañeda, Armando Rodríguez
  • Structural Engineer: Rosenwasser / Grossman
  • Services: Ettinger Engineering Associates
  • Curtain Wall: Israel Berger and Associates
  • Client: Two Trees Management LLC
  • Area: 120,000 m2
  • Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Alexander Severin, Evan Joseph

© Alexander Severin © Evan Joseph © Evan Joseph Render

580 Carroll Street / TEN Arquitectos

Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos © Marc Lins © Marc Lins Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos

New York Library / TEN Arquitectos

In a neighborhood of high-end retail and luxury residences, this new branch library will fulfill a much needed role as a public space and touchstone for the local community and visiting tourists across from the Museum of Modern Art.  Despite the library’s site being predominantly below grade and set at the base of a new 40-story hotel, this design proposal transforms the dark, subterranean space into an inviting, open and light-filled civic landscape in the heart of Manhattan. 

Amparo Museum / TEN Arquitectos

  • Architects: TEN Arquitectos
  • Location: Puebla, México
  • Architect In Charge: Enrique Norten
  • Project Team: Enrique Norten, Salvador Arroyo, Carlos Salas, Alejandro Solis, Marisol Moreno, Daniel Hernández, Omar Barcenas, Luis Farfán, Farid Hernandez
  • Client: Fundación Amparo
  • Area: 12000.0 m2
  • Proyect Year: 2013
  • Photography: Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa

321 Ocean / TEN Arquitectos

  • Architects: TEN Arquitectos
  • Location: 321 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
  • Owner: AGM Aria
  • Are: 78,000 ft2
  • Proyect Year: 2012
  • Photography: Cortesia de TEN Arquitectos / Hartness Visions

Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos / Hartness Visions Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos / Hartness Visions Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos / Hartness Visions Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos / Hartness Visions

Bloomberg Announces Plan For Downtown Brooklyn

32-Story Tower at Lafayette and Ashland, Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos.  Via The Architect's Newspaper
32-Story Tower at Lafayette and Ashland, Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos. Via The Architect's Newspaper

In recent years Downtown Brooklyn has become somewhat of a hub of cultural activity.  Just past the triangular intersection of Flatbush Ave and Fulton Street, a high density of cultural buildings, expansive retail, and entertainment exists.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC announced in late November that the city and private companies will be partnering to produce three new projects in this area that will bring affordable housing and additional cultural and community spaces to Downtown Brooklyn.  This last city-owned parcel will be developed into mixed use facilities: a 515,000 square foot building at Fulton St, Rockwell Place and Ashland Place; a 32-story mixed use building on Flatbush and Lafayette to be designed by Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos and a third building currently in the RFP stage of development at Ashland Place and Lafayette. Join us after the break for more.

Six Visions for the Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan

Grimshaw / Gruen Via The Source
Grimshaw / Gruen Via The Source

Metro officials have released six conceptual visions that suggest how the historic Los Angeles Union Station could be transformed by 2050. Preliminary “Vision Boards” were released in a public forum at Union Station last week, and although they are not part of the formal evaluation process, they have ignited an immense amount of public interest in the competition. In an article posted on The Source, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa described that this competition is “about preparing for the future.” As plans for the California High-Speed Rail System evolve, it is imperative that Union Station is redeveloped to meet the standards of a 21st century transportation hub. Continue after the break to view each Vision Board provided by the six well-known practices shortlisted for the competition.

National Mall Competition Finalists Announced

Over 1,200 entires from 30 states and 10 countries submitted applications for the National Mall competition. Late last month fifteen design teams were chosen as finalists to advance to the second stage of this prestigious contest.

Hosting 25 million visitors annually, the National Mall will undergo an estimated $700 million restoration beginning in 2012. The competition has been broken down into three areas of restoration: Union Square including the Reflecting Pool and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the Constitution Gardens between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.

Among the finalists to move on to stage two of the competition, Diller Scofidio Renfro, Weiss/Manfredi, and Rogers Marvel Architects who are shortlisted for two out of the three areas of restoration, as well as Snohetta, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Ten Arquitectos, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson who are finalists for one area of restoration.

“Entrants were evaluated on past design performance, philosophy, design intent, thoughtfulness, creativity and overall resume,” according to a release from the Trust of the National Mall. The jury, compiled of architects, professors and other members of the architecture community, included Michael Gericke of Pentagram NYC and Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne founder of Morphosis.

The second stage of the competition includes interviews of the teams conducted by the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service, and the last stage will include proposed plans for the restoration. The competition will culminate in May 2012 and the proposed designs from stage three of the competition will be available to the public prior to the winning design being selected.

Follow the break for a complete list of design finalists for the National Mall Competition.

Mercedes House: Phase 1 / TEN Arquitectos

© Alexander Severin/RAZUMMEDIA © Alexander Severin/RAZUMMEDIA © Alexander Severin/RAZUMMEDIA © Alexander Severin/RAZUMMEDIA

Hotel Americano / TEN Arquitectos

  • Architects: TEN Arquitectos
  • Location: High Line Elevated Park, Manhattan, NY 10001, USA
  • Architects: Ten Arquitectos
  • Total Rooms: 56
  • Photographs: Paul Clemence

© Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence © Paul Clemence

National Laboratory of Genomics / TEN Arquitectos

  • Architects: TEN Arquitectos
  • Location: Irapuato, Guanajuato. Mexico
  • Architect: TEN Arquitectos/Enrique Norten
  • Project Team: Enrique Norten, Salvador Arroyo, Victoria Grossi, Verónica Chávez, Carlos Marin, Mateo Riestra, Ernesto Orrante, Ricardo Orozco, Alejandro Mantecón, Gabriela Puente, Dionisio Arras, Uvaldo Arenas
  • Structure: Colinas de Buen, SA de CV, Ing. Óscar de Buen
  • Mep: DIIN, SA de CV. Ing. Alejandro Borboa
  • Client: National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity
  • Year Of Design: 2005-2007
  • Project Year: 2007
  • Photographs: Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa

CASSA / TEN Arquitectos

Renowned mexican architect Enrique Norten (TEN Arquitectos) has been working in NY since a few years ago, with One York already built at SOHO & Tribeca. And with CASSA, his new 43-stories tall residential tower, he joins the city’s skyline.

The project includes 57 luxury residences and 166 hotel rooms, with interiors by Cetra/Ruddy, along with a 5 star restaurant, a spa, a private terrace and lounge, and other additional services.

The tower doesn´t look to find its place at the NY skyline with any “fireworks”, just a rigorous orthogonal volume with a character given by the punctured rhythm of its windows.

More images after the break.

Habita Hotel / TEN Arquitectos

  • Architects: TEN Arquitectos
  • Location: Lamartine 201, Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo, 11550 Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
  • Architects: TEN Arquitectos - Enrique Norten, Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta
  • Team: Aarón Hernández, Sergio Nuñez, Francisco Pardo, Julio Amezcua, Hugo Sánchez, Claudia Marquina, Carlos López, Martine Paquin, Adriana Díaz, Rubén Garnica, Miguel Ríos
  • Construction: 1998-2000
  • Area: 2500.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2000
  • Photographs: Luis Gordoa, Undine Pröhl, Jean Luc Laloux

© Luis Gordoa, Undine Pröhl, Jean Luc Laloux © Luis Gordoa, Undine Pröhl, Jean Luc Laloux © Luis Gordoa, Undine Pröhl, Jean Luc Laloux © Luis Gordoa, Undine Pröhl, Jean Luc Laloux