Imagine the past and future of Mexico City: Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete

Imagine the past and future of Mexico City: Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete

Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete is an architectural installation that was featured in the Mextrópoli Architecture and City Festival between September 21-25, 2022. The installation presents stories from the past and present by using four materials about Mexico City. The use of the materials is a critical adaptation between tradition, history, and imagining new possibilities. The installation invited the visitors to remember the city’s history.

Imagine the past and future of Mexico City: Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete
Dreams of Fiber/Timber © Marisa Morán Jahn

The installations include two pavilions:

The first one is “Dreams of Fiber/Timber,” which reflects on the past and future of Mexico City. Built from the city’s iconic rollercoaster, La Feria’s Montaña Rusa’s wood materials and the pavilion adapted traditional Mesoamerican art form, papel picado, also known as perforated paper or pecked paper. The pavilion invited the ancestors to pass to the present.

Imagine the past and future of Mexico City: Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete
© Walter Shintani

La Feria’s Montaña Rusa was built in 1964, was open till 2019, and had an important place in millions of people’s memories. Similar to other large-scale urban projects built in Mexico City in the same decade, the roller coaster captured an era of massive socio-economic transitions and the consequent development of civic infrastructure.

Located on the corner of the historic Plaza de la Alameda, the pavilion creates a new urban space for meeting and reflection. Activating the space at night, the pavilion’s lighting design emerged from dialogues with the Otomi artisans who produced the amate paper for the pavilion.

Imagine the past and future of Mexico City: Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete
Dreams of Fiber/Timber © Walter Shintani

The second pavilion, “Dreams of Earth/Concrete,” explored the future of Mexico’s affordable housing. The pavilion was created under the partnership of New Story, an international nonprofit organization that pioneers solutions to end global homelessness, and Échale, a social enterprise based in Mexico that offers housing solutions through the integral development of communities.

Imagine the past and future of Mexico City: Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete
Dreams of Earth/Concrete © Dinorah Martínez Schulte, 2022

Dreams of Earth are created by ceramic vaults 3D-printed and produced in CDMX with local materials. These are placed between precast concrete beams as permanent formwork for the upper compression slab. The geometric flexibility of 3D printing facilitates the mass production of custom ceramic vaults tailored to the available materials. The blocks have been produced in collaboration with local ceramic manufacturers using conventional clays and firing processes. The blocks are lightweight and optimized to minimize material usage and manufacturing time.

Imagine the past and future of Mexico City: Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete
Dreams of Earth/Concrete © Dinorah Martínez Schulte, 2022

Dreams of Concrete explores the future of affordable housing in Mexico through construction methods with low material impact. The horizontal structure of the roof takes as its starting point the existing joist and vault system, optimizing the shape of the prefabricated reinforced concrete joists to minimize the use of material and its associated environmental impact by 50%.

Imagine the past and future of Mexico City: Dreams of Fiber/Timber, Earth, Concrete
Dreams of Earth/Concrete © Dinorah Martínez Schulte, 2022

The resulting elegant geometry, sculpted by sections of varying width and depth, is achieved using computational design methods developed by researchers at MIT. Its manufacture is carried out using fiberglass molds, which allow multiple casting cycles. Dreams of Concrete combines local construction techniques with new digital manufacturing technologies, resulting in a pavilion that combines industry, social enterprise, and academia as a model for a more sustainable built environment.

Dreams of Earth/Concrete © Dinorah Martínez Schulte, 2022

Project Info

Grupo Mota-Engil, Project Team: Onésimo Flores, Sergio Haua, Ivar Castillo, Jorge Cerrilla, Oscar Vera, Gemi González
MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism Director: Sarah Williams.
Project Team: Alberto Meouchi, Jariyaporn Prachasartta, Doris Qingyi Duanmu, Niko McGlashan, Deni López, Illana Strauss and Enrique Casillas. Construction: La Invencible. Research and Design of Dream Tickets: Claudia Ortiz Chao, Maria Moreno, Carina Arvizu, Carlos Flores and Santiago Fernandez
MIT Digital Structures Director: Caitlin Mueller
Project Team: Edu Gascón, Tim Cousin, Mohamed Ismail, Sandy Curth, Kiley Feickert, Leslie Norford.
In Collaboration with: ECHALE, New Story, Manufactura, Anfora Studio, Formas de Fibra de Vidrio.
MIT Future Urban Collectives and Collaborating Artist Marisa Morán Jahn Director: Rafi Segal
Collaborating Artist: Marisa Morán Jahn.
Project Team: Maria Rius Ruiz- NUA Arquitectures, Patricia Dueñas Gerritsen, Jungmin Lee, Karla Mejias. Structural Engineering: Caitlin Mueller, Edu Gascón, Tim Cousin. Construction: Mextropoli/La Invencible
ECHALE, Project Team: Francesco Piazzesi, Gretel Uribe Campos, Eduardo Piedrola, Eduardo Banda, Fernanda Herrejón, Javier Velasco, Gustavo García.
New Story Project Team: Victor Mendoza, Sandra Prieto
Manufactura, Co-Founders: Dinorah Martínez Schulte, Edurne Morales, Eduardo Barba, Elena Fierro
Project Director: Dinorah Martínez Schulte
Project Team: Aleida Rahel Merkel, Ivan Ramos, Jared Zarate, Irma Valdes, Jorge Orduna
Anfora Studio, Project Team: Saul Rivera, Sofia Priscila, Sara Flores, Amaury De La Rosa, Polette Guerrero
Formas de Fibra de Vidrio, Project Team: Jacinto Hernández Espindola

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