Serpent Within Mexico City
In the close reading of Mexico City and the project site, we realized that the urban block of which we were situated was contingent within the boundaries and forces of the city. For example, the slight shift of Bucareli street shapes the entire west side of the block which the project resides. We noticed that the buildings inside the block are also contingent to the forces of the block as if it was a scaled-down version of the relationship of the block to the city. This type of super contingency can only happen in a city like Mexico City.
We started to investigate the ways that our building can be contingent on the city block. We noticed that the block was partially shaped by the voids that were created by external forces such as earthquakes and zoning. So, we started to see if there was a way of linking the voided spaces in a way that was also contingent in with the rest of the block. For example, we have these four strips of long linear space that was created in the contingency with the surrounding buildings. We came to a conclusion that the way to showcase the contingency of our building is by linking together all of the cross-sections that are shaped by the surrounding context into one single unifying building.
This unity (in both form and theme) was also important in the design process because earlier on, in the close reading we noticed that the site was divided into three parts through the contingencies of the city. However, we made it a goal of ours to unify the site through the contingency of the site itself as seen in the axon and the elevations. For example, the project seen from both the street level and up top completely fills up the void that parted city block, yet as one explores the site one would soon realize that much of the public circulation and vector of the previous site is preserved. We also decided to go with a Corten Steel cladding to reflect the material choice surrounding buildings. This also gives the project the ability to age with the city and the block. For example, this diagram showcases how the project can change over time. This also becomes a way for the project to be contingent as it ages with the city and becomes embedded in the geological layer of the city over time.
The cladding system we thought should also be contingent to the needs of building—much like the relationship between the building and the site and even further with the contingency between the block and the city. The figures on the façade were sampled by the voids which were created through the contingency of the block. As seen in this diagram. The size of voids is contingent to the needs of the building, for example, the figures would increase in size in areas where greater visibility of the city was preferred and the envelope would close off in areas where the project receives the most direct sunlight.