“A convincing and realistic integration of the informal economy”

Regional Jury Report – Latin America

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    Improving Market in Mexico

    The proposal addresses the paradigmatic scenario that the building intervention represents stating a message of accessibility and inclusiveness. The building becomes an open and dynamic facility. Austere materials are used to improve the building performance and the user experience.

Last updated: June 16, 2021 Eclépens, Switzerland

Project description by jury

The project proposes the renovation of Plaza Merced 2000, a building in one of the oldest retail areas of Mexico City. The precinct houses a public market that is currently working at 20% of its capacity. Instead of the envisaged demolition, suspended after several objections, the architectural design proposes the implementation of a series of retrofit interventions to achieve 100% building occupation while involving new and existing stakeholders. The architectural design confers a new identity upon the depleted greyfield site that is converted into an open and dynamic facility mixing commercial, educational and entertainment services. The renovation process includes environmental, economic and social challenges. From an ecological perspective, the project aims to minimize the building’s carbon footprint thanks to retaining the existing structure, the use of recycled materials, and an optimized energy and water management. The surrounding open space is reconfigured to create new circulation and public spaces by which the market establishes a new contextual connection.

Jury appraisal

Integrate in the informal economy into the formal sector is an important policy challenge that has had limited success Latin America. The solution described by the author is convincing and makes the project realistic. The LafargeHolcim Awards jury Latin America found the idea of mixing business activities with other cultural and leisure facilities a provocative solution to promote community interaction and social inclusion. Moreover, the recycling approach proposed as a design methodology to improve the urban metabolism and reduce the environmental impact of construction was considered a great asset of the project and very relevant to the Target Issues central to the Awards competition. Ultimately, the architectural proposal for the new market was applauded for its light and pleasant aspect, that not only reconfigures the commercial spaces inside but also provides a new urban character to the plaza.