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Content Editor at ArchDaily Mexico. Architect by UNAM (2018). Her interests focus on exploring the relationship of the body with architecture through dance. She has collaborated with different international choreographers who explore dance and architecture as an event. Twitter / Instagram: @monicarellano_
Mexico is a country known globally for its traditional and contemporary architectural elements. The construction techniques characteristic of each region and the use of materials according to thermic, economic, or aesthetic needs result in unique spaces.
Bamboo as a constructive or decorative element, coating, facade, or roof has proven its superiority over materials such as plastic and steel.
While it is true that research on this material has advanced significantly in recent years, we know that there is still much to learn. Many architects are seeking knowledge from the past to apply to their current techniques. Below, we've selected a list of 8 Mexican projects that explore the use of bamboo in the hands of architects and artisans.
Design House, which is held annually within the framework of Design Week Mexico, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. In this year's edition, 24 local designers and architects transformed an abandoned home, each restoring a room or outdoor area. One of these interventions, by Broissin Architects, reconstructed the outdoor patio into a micro-forest with the small, glass house placed on a centenary ash tree.
Alberto Kalach is a Mexican architect whose career has focused on creating site-specific works that blend into the natural environment. In his most recent exhibition in Mexico City, Territories and Housing, Kalach shows a series of drawings that highlight his concern for the environment. In these drawings, we can see a master plan that proposes ways of living with an environmental conscience.
Following his election a few months ago, the current president-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced that a referendum would be held to determine whether or not the government should proceed with the Foster + Partners and FR-EE's proposed 13 billion dollar project for the International Airport of the Mexico City.
Making good on his campaign promise, a public vote on the project's fate was held from 25-28 October, asking citizens to answer the following question: Given the saturation of the International Airport of Mexico City, which option do you think will be best for the country? The two options given to voters were:
"Recondition the current airport in Mexico City, Toluca and build two runways at the Santa Lucia Air Base"
"Continue with the construction of the new airport in Texcoco and cease operations of the current International Airport of Mexico City."
In response to calls for a larger space, the Santiago Apostle Cathedral is the proposed home for the Queretaro Diocese. The proposed building lies on a 20,000 square meter plot of land on the city's south central side. The project aims to turn the building into not only a new religious and community space, but also an architectural icon for the city.
The project's design is based on a guiding axis that points towards the rising sun. The nave's geometry begins in the circle and then spreads throughout the structure from the principal entrance all the way towards the altar. The cathedral's roof is made up of a grand staircase that also houses a reflection pool.
The Oscar Niemeyer Award for Latin American Architecture is a renowned initiative by the Latin American Architecture Biennial Network (REDBAAL). This award recognizes the best architectural production, unquestionable empowerment, and presence of Latin American architecture in the international context.
Tijuana is one of the most populated cities in Mexico. In 2000, the construction of collective housing boomed. This phenomenon completely transformed the limits of the city; the periphery exhibited a new appearance: a modernized future, new urban schemes, and a new lifestyle.
Bamboo is an ancient building material that has been used in a variety of countries and building types. A sustainable material with a unique aesthetic, it is arguably one of the greatest architectural trends of the moment.
This material's structural and sustainable qualities demonstrate that bamboo can be three times more resistant than steel and grow about 4 feet (1.22 meter) in just one day.
Over the past few months, Quintana Roo's coast has been overtaken by an invasion of seaweed that has put the locals to work cleaning up the beaches as the weeds wash ashore. The work is an exhausting day-to-day ordeal and while the cause of the invasion is still unknown, many point to the changes in climate impacting the Atlantic Ocean.
Currently, over 60 tons of seaweed has been gathered from the coast and locals are already putting the plants to good use as raw materials for biodigestors, cosmetics, plastics, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals. However, another use for seaweed has recently come to the public's attention.
Founded by Juan Benavides in 2014, FILMATICA is an architectural film studio dedicated to making videos with a curatorial focus. The selection of projects is carried out in order to empathize with the formal interests of the studio, responding to aesthetic spatial conditions surrounded by powerful landscapes. With this in mind, FILMATICA makes a series of narratives that highlight architecture, time, movement, and our journey through the world. Below, a compilation of videos of contemporary architectural works narrated through the lens of Juan Benavides and the FILMATICA team.
Wood has been an indispensable material in the history of civilization. Different regions from around the world have used it for specific climatic conditions. Mexico, as we have mentioned on several occasions, is an extensive country where different climates, resources and ways of life fit. Therefore the application of wood in architecture has been developed in a number of ways, from its structural use to produce roofs for Mayan huts to projects that seek to revive vernacular architecture.
While the handling of this material is difficult due to its specific detail management, it presents a multitude of benefits from its aesthetic appeal, air circulation, and even smell. Take a look at 16 Mexican projects that use wood in wondrous ways.
In 1948, the architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, released one of his most famous publications titled Modular, followed by Modular 2 (1953). In these texts, Le Corbusier expressed his support of the research that Vitrubio, DaVinci, and Leon Battista Alberti started centuries before: to find the mathematical relationship between human dimensions and nature.
The research of the previously mentioned authors also represents the search to explain the Parthenon, the temples, and cathedrals built according to exact measurements that reference a code of essentiality. Knowing what instruments were used in finding the essence of these buildings was the starting point, instruments that at first glance seemed to bypass time and space. It wouldn't be farfetched to say that the measurements came from essence: parts of the body such as the elbow, the finger, thumb, foot, arm, palm, etc. In fact, there are instruments and measurements that carry names alluding to parts of the human body, an indication of architecture's proximity to it.
In 2001, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) created an initiative called "Pueblo Mágico/Magical Town." This program seeks to highlight towns around the country that offer a unique and "magical experience – by reason of their natural beauty, cultural richness, traditions, folklore, historical relevance, cuisine, arts & crafts, and hospitality."
You can find SECTUR's "Magical Town" definition here.
A town that through time and before modernity, was conserved, valued and defended for its historical, cultural and natural heritage; and manifests in it various expressions through its tangible and intangible heritage. A "Magical Town" is a locality that has unique, symbolic attributes, authentic stories, transcendent facts, daily life, which means a great opportunity for tourism, taking into account the motivations and needs of travelers.
Art Omi is a non-profit organization located in Ghent, New York that works to create a space for the artistic community. This organization is focused on providing architects a space to experiment and come into contact with other perspectives. Art Omi was born from the absence of residency programs for architects in the United States; a space designed by architects for architects.
The Art Omi architecture program is structured on four pillars: an architectural field of sixty acres where participants can deploy and experience pavilions and facilities designed by architects; the second is a curated series of indoor exhibitions at the Benenson Center; the third is an annual event outside the campus, in Manhattan, that seeks to link theory and practice; and finally, the most recent addition which is the residency program.
Architecture, Form, and Energy is a documentary series featuring 6 interviews with architects and intellectuals from the United Kingdom, United States, Malaysia, and Mexico. The series seeks to disseminate information that inspires contemporary architectural evolution, from the impact of climate on a place, finding inspiration in nature, the relationship between form and energy, selecting the right materials, and appropriate technological application.
One of the most important factors to consider when designing is the climate of the site. This can create difficulties when it comes to extreme climates and it is necessary to use insulation materials that adapt to changing conditions. However, when discussing Mexico and its specific climate, this can be an opportunity for architects to create microclimates and spaces that blur the transition of interiors and exteriors.
Patios have become a traditional element of design. They create interesting psychological effects that fuse the conception of the interior and exterior, the common and private. It is a way to bring sunlight and rain into the house, to open up paths and coexistences that do not occur in interiors. Below, a selection of projects in Mexico that use the patio as the main design resource.
The architectural history of Mexico bears with it a wealth of symbolism that gives insight into the different time periods that have played host to contemporary cultural movements throughout the country's history.
Today, it's common to hear well-known architects calling for, not the creation of new spaces, but for the restoration of already existing ones. This stance insists that it is one's duty as an architect to rescue a site's memory by bringing it into the here and now.
As philosopher Jean Paul-Sartre put it, "what is important is not what happens to us, but what we do with what happens to us." In keeping with Sartre's phrase, we have compiled a list of 6 restoration projects that aim to rescue sites and show the interconnectedness of different time periods in Mexican history.
Emily Rauh Pulitzer, curator of the St. Louis Museum of Art and Steve Trampe of Owen Development, are spearheading a plan to transform a block near St. Louis's theater and museum district in the area of Grand Center. This project, (according to a story published on a local news site in St. Louis) is "a blank palette” and "an opportunity to take an entire block and make it different.”
The project is currently led by local architects Axi: Ome. Tatiana Bilbao has also confirmed her participation, in what should be an interesting addition to St. Louis's local architectural heritage. In an interview with Vladimir Belogolovsky, she explained that she considers that the legacy of Mexican architecture should expand to other sites: