2022 - Mexico City

Mexico City

PILARES are small neighborhood hubs that provide social, educational, and cultural infrastructure to residents of Mexico City. An initiative implemented by the Mayor of Mexico City, these Points of Innovation, Freedom, Art, Education, and Knowledge (PILARES, for its acronym in Spanish), provide local residents access to computers and internet, workshop spaces (carpentry, silk-screen printing, dark room, etc.) and flexible rooms for public gatherings. More than 250 PILARES are planned for Mexico City, and a small part of those were commissioned to architects with a distinguished trajectory.

In collaboration with PALMA, we designed a 2-story 440m² structure that takes advantage of the physical characteristics of our lot, a small wedge of land in the Center of the Magdalena Contreras borough to the southwest of Mexico City. The introduction of a perfectly level upper floor creates a stark contrast with our site's sloping topography. While the lower level digs into the ground, the upper level consists of a dynamic composition of blue boxes with diverse proportions and apertures, creating the required variety of interior spatial qualities.

Understanding the severe budget restrictions and little leverage we would have on the building site, we designed a straightforward steel structure: a sturdy framework with generous floor heights that could be adapted over time. The lower level is open and transparent and includes covered outdoor areas where neighbors can shelter from the rain or sun, even when the building is closed. The upper level is clad with industrial insulated facade panels rendered in a blue textured stucco: a rough application with a DYI feel (almost like a papier-mâché) that expresses the hands-on attitude of the workshops. These straightforward and effective construction techniques allowed us to finish the project within the restrictive budget and timeline.

Architectural Design: PRODUCTORA + PALMA | Collaborators: Nicolas Fueyo, Diego Velázquez, Pablo Manjarrez, Fidel Fernández | Typology: Social Infraestructure | Location: Mexico City | Area: 440 m² |Client: Mexico City Government | Date: 2022