location: Mexico City, Mexico.
affiliation with: FR-EE.
Designed to support a major cultural/performance venue in Mexico City, this 17,000m2 facility contains rehearsal space, exhibition and gallery spaces, theatrical workshops and storage, cafe, retail, and office spaces for administration. The complex will eventually support the national philharmonic orquestra, the national opera, several classical and modern dance companies, chamber orchestras, and spaces for individual practice. The site is located on an extremely busy thoroughfare that cuts through the heart of the city’s historic district. The project’s location means that it falls under the jurisdiction of several cultural and historic government agencies, and it is also adjacent to one of the most prominent cultural landmarks of the ciity. Therefore the challenge of the design was to provide a contemporary, state-of-the art facility while respecting the patrimony of the site. Since the program called for several ‘black-box’ theater spaces and most of the adjacent buildings are constructed of stone, an exhaustive analysis of stone types and patterns was conducted in order to arrive at a design for the exterior that is based on this type of construction, but carried forward into our time. Intended to serve primary as a rehearsal venue, the client also requested that the building also be made to accomodate its own performances. This meant that the acoustics of each theater space needed to be ‘tuned’ to match the conditions of existing performance spaces that it is meant to support, but also to be able to host world-class events as a stand-alone venue. The spaces are organized around a setback along the primary avenue that gives space back to the city for a tree-lined promenade, that has the added benefit of connecting major cultural institutions at opposing ends of the avenue.