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Making Complex Systems Visible: “Between Geometry and Geography” Carefully Uncovers the Layers of Mexico City

I always book a window seat when flying into Mexico City. It guarantees exposing the traveler to the exhilarating immensity of the city and the valley that barely contains it: a blunt encounter of geometry and geography indeed. Braving traffic I arrive to my hotel in the historic center and the first morning, over breakfast and with those aerial images still fresh in my mind, I invariably marvel at the fact that I have just had a hot shower and that I am enjoying, as usual, excellent huevos rancheros. "How did these eggs get here?" I wonder. The thoughts quickly dissipate as one is engulfed by the many renowned attractions of Mexico City.

Felipe Correa and Carlos Garciavelez Alfaro have chosen not to be distracted. Their book, “Between Geometry and Geography: Mexico City”, is an ambitious portrait of Mexico City that avoids reading the city through the singularities of its monuments. They have produced instead a stunning graphic biography of the metropolis, focusing on the infrastructures that have shaped the city and make it function today and speculating on opportunities for future multifunctional infrastructures.

Courtesy of Felipe Correa and Carlos Garciavelez Alfaro Courtesy of Felipe Correa and Carlos Garciavelez Alfaro Courtesy of Felipe Correa and Carlos Garciavelez Alfaro Courtesy of Felipe Correa and Carlos Garciavelez Alfaro

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

JAHN and ADG Unveil Mexico City’s Newest Baseball Stadium

JAHN and ADG have released designs for Los Diablos Rojos del Mexico’s new home stadium in Mexico City. Scheduled to open in the city’s Magdalena Mixhuca sports complex in 2017, the 13000-seat “Estadio Diablos” will feature a “monumental lightweight” roof structure that resembles Diablos’ trident. 

“Indicative of the sky, the roof design is sharp, translucent, luminous and dynamic,” says JAHN. “Composed of lightweight steel wrapped in PTFE textile material, the roof will become an iconic symbol for the great City of Mexico.”

More on the stadium’s design, after the break. 

© JAHN and ADG © JAHN and ADG © JAHN and ADG © JAHN and ADG

CdV House / DDA Despacho de Arquitectura

  • Architects: DDA Despacho de Arquitectura
  • Location: Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
  • Architect in Charge: Omar Rendón, José Luis López de la C.
  • Project team: Artemio García Diaz
  • Translation: Pilar IslasE
  • Area: 356.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Luis Gordoa

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

Cicerón 406 / JVC Arq

© Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa
  • Architects: JVC arq
  • Location: Cicerón 406, Polanco, 11550 Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
  • Architectural Design: José Vigil Carvallo, Juan Carlos Pérez Zamora
  • Structural Design: Octavio Barón Luna
  • Construction: Marco Vigil Carvallo
  • Facade Screens Design: Ariel Rojo
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Luis Gordoa

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

Audi Urban Future Award 2014: Transforming Urban Mobility Through “Data Donors”

Every two years Audi hosts the Audi Urban Future Award (AUFA), which challenges cities from different parts of the world to investigate future mobility trends and come up with innovative solutions. This year AUFA selected Mexico City, Boston, Berlin and Seoul to participate in the challenge and respond to the question: how will data shape mobility in the megacities of the future? These four groups were asked to create a vision for how their city could use data in a strategic way, taking into consideration innovative energy solutions, sustainability, feasibility and the potential for their ideas to be implemented in other cities. 

Mexico City’s team took home first place with their “operative system for urban mobility,” which centered around a data platform that cities can use to structure their urban traffic planning. Their system was also based around the idea that citizens themselves can become “data donors” and use the system to make informed decisions on how they move about the city. The team was comprised of architect and urbanist José Castillo, researcher Carlos Gershenson and the city government’s experimental lab “Laboratorio para la Ciudad.” 

Learn more about the winning project after the break. 

Santa Catarina House / Ludens

  • Architects: Ludens
  • Location: Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
  • Architecture: Iván Hernández
  • Design Team: Tiago Pinto + Anna Mieszek + Antonio García + Juan Vázquez
  • Project Area: 300.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Angélica Ibarra, Courtesy of Briefcase

© Angélica Ibarra © Angélica Ibarra © Angélica Ibarra © Angélica Ibarra

CEMEX Unveils Winners of the XXIII Building Awards

CEMEX has announced both the international and national winners of the XXIII Building Awards, which aim to recognize the best architecture and construction both internationally and within Mexico. All projects were reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of some of the most important and prestigious representatives of the industry at an international level.

The international awards recognizing housing, institutional/industrial and large-scale infrastructure projects that were built during 2013 and stand out for their constructive solutions, aesthetics and innovative techniques. Finalist projects ranged from Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama to Plan B Arquitectos’ Click Clack Hotel in Bogotá, Colombia, covering a range of countries and architectural styles.

The CEMEX Building Award is itself a unique piece of art created by Mexican sculptor Miguel Angel Gonzalez and made out of black marble and concrete. 

Read on after the break for both the international and national winners…

Liverpool Insurgentes Department Store / Rojkind Arquitectos

  • Architects: Rojkind Arquitectos
  • Location: Insurgentes Sur, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
  • Architects in Charge: Michel Rojkind y Gerardo Salinas
  • Project Area: 825 sqm
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Jaime Navarro

© Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro

Interactive Infographic Tracks the Growth of the World's Megacities

With more than 7 billion people now alive, the greatest population growth over the last century has occurred in urban areas. Now, a new series of interactive maps entitled "The Age of Megacities" and developed by software company ESRI allows us to visualize these dramatic effects and see just how this growth has shaped the geography of 10 of the world’s 28 megacities. Defined as areas with continuous urban development of over 10 million people, the number of megacities in the world is expected to increase, and while Tokyo still tops the list as the world’s largest megacity, other cities throughout Asia are quickly catching up. Find out more after the break.

Reforma Diana Corporate Building / Arditti + RDT arquitectos

Courtesy of Arditti + RDT arquitectos Courtesy of Arditti + RDT arquitectos Courtesy of Arditti + RDT arquitectos Courtesy of Arditti + RDT arquitectos

Tres Picos 97 / D+S Arquitectos

The development is located on a rectangular plot of 450 m2, with a 21 mt frontage.

JAHN, LOGUER + ADG Presents Proposal for New Mexico City Airport

Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, chief designer and president of JAHN, has shared with us his net-zero design proposal for the new Mexico City International Airport competition. Similar to the Norman Foster and Fernando Romero's winning design, JAHN's proposal is a symbiotic blend of sensitive cultural meaning and powerful energy efficiency. As per competition requirements to pair an international firm with a Mexican firm, the project was the result of a collaboration with local architects Francisco Lopez-Guerra of LOGUER and Alonso de Garay of ADG

Courtesy of JAHN Courtesy of JAHN Courtesy of JAHN Courtesy of JAHN

VIDEO: Time-Lapse Through FR-EE's Museo Soumaya

German photographer Yannick Wegner has shared with us his latest time-lapse exploration through the Museo Soumaya. Designed by FR-EE / Fernando Romero Enterprise, the 150-foot structure has become iconic in Mexico City’s Polanco district due to its sculptural physique and scale-like skin of 16,000 mirrored steel hexagonal tiles.

Stills of the museum, after the break...

MR299 / HGR Arquitectos

  • Architects: HGR Arquitectos
  • Location: Calle Matías Romero, Vertiz Narvarte, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
  • Architect: Marcos Hagerman
  • Project Area: 1835.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Diana Arnau

© Diana Arnau © Diana Arnau © Diana Arnau © Diana Arnau

Casa Sierra Leona / José Juan Rivera Río

© Nasser Malek Hernández © Nasser Malek Hernández © Nasser Malek Hernández © Nasser Malek Hernández

New Details Released of Norman Foster and Fernando Romero's Designs for Mexico City's New Airport

Yesterday, a consortium led by Foster + Partners and Fernando Romero of FR-EE were announced as the winners of the competition for the design of Mexico City's new international airport. Designed in conjunction with a masterplan developed by Arup, the airport will initially include three runways, but is designed to expand to up to six runways by 2062, all served by the single terminal building.

One of the world's largest airport terminals at 555,000 square meters, the building is enclosed by a single, continuous lightweight gridshell, the largest of this type of structure ever built with spans reaching up to 170 meters.

By utilizing a single airport terminal, passengers will not need to travel on internal train services or underground tunnels, and the design of the building ensures shorter walking distances and few changes of level, all making for a more relaxing experience for users.

The building is designed to be the world's most sustainable airport, with the single lightweight shell using far less material than a cluster of buildings, and cooling and ventilation strategies that require little to no mechanical assistance for most of the year.