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.
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.See more
Planet and progress: Valuing the existing, a call for change
Four hundred years of demolition and reconstruction of commercial facilities in “La Merced” have generated conflicts and distrust towards urban transformations marginalizing and polluting in every iteration. Recycling the building “Plaza Merced 2000” proposes a different approach. From the ecological perspective, environmental friendly materials, water and energy management and recycling reduces the carbon footprint of the building. From a social perspective, a gradual project reduces uncertainty and provides the local community the possibility to prototype and test different solutions as a process. From an economical perspective, commercial activities will remain undisrupted during the recycling process. Initial investment of the building and the opportunity cost are taken in advantage.
People and prosperity: Integrate the stakeholders to increase the value
As part of an unsuccessful plan launched in 1993 to relocate informal commerce into similar buildings across the city, “Plaza Merced 2000” is deeply incorporated into the formal and informal economic dynamics of the area. The project proposes to address this original purpose from a large urban scale perspective interacting with the surrounding public buildings sharing circulations, public spaces, and programs. Different stakeholders, from individual vendors to institutions and distributors, are strategically located in the building to create circular processes of cooperation based on shared interests. Everyday businesses, educational programs, entertainment, and other services complement each other. The building performs as a laboratory for organic urban self-development.
Place: From design to advocacy, the building as a message
Architecture and urban planning practices are understood as proactive strategic tools to actively engage in conflict mediations and social development. Large scale letters distributed along the facades form a slogan: “'VIVA PLAZA MERCED 2000 POR SIEMPRE” (“LONG LIVE PLAZA MERCED 2000 FOREVER”). This slogan sends out a conciliatory message with the past and an optimistic vision for the future. Abandoned elements are repurposed, the cinema located on the first floor is converted into an open sports facility. The preexisting panel facade is replaced by metallic curtains that mimic popular facades and provide a new relation between the building and its environment. Local identity, defined by festivities and events, is staged under expressive skylights.
The Next Generation 3rd prize for Latin America went to Improving Market in Mexico – Urban commercial rejuvenation and capacity building by Pablo Goldin Marcovich, student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City.
Plaza Merced 2000 is a landmark building in one of the oldest commercial districts in Mexico City. Only 20 percent of the building remains in use. There are even plans to demolish it. The project by Pablo Goldin Markovich, student of architecture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, proposes renovating the building and exploiting its full potential. As part of the transformation, the carbon footprint is to be minimized. To achieve this, the building structure will be maintained and upgraded using recycled materials. Water and energy management will be optimized. A variety of stakeholders will be accommodated in the building in order to initiate circular processes of collaboration based on shared interests.
“Urban and social development should be linked together,” insists Pablo Goldin Markovich: “Different actors complement each other to generate value and empower the community.” The building thus acquires a new identity and becomes an open, dynamic facility for commercial, educational, and leisure uses. The mingling of uses is a proactive solution to promote community interaction and social inclusion, agrees the jury. Marilyne Andersen: “In this project we are not only looking at a way to preserve the existing but to add more value on top of it.”
Plaza Merced 2000 es un edificio de referencia ubicado en una de las áreas comerciales más antiguas de Ciudad de México. Sólo el 20 por ciento de la construcción se encuentra actualmente en uso, y hay planes de demolerlo. El proyecto de Pablo Goldin Markovich, estudiante de arquitectura de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México propone renovar el edificio y utilizarlo en todo su potencial. Como parte de la transformación, también se planea minimizar la huella de carbono de la construcción a través de la conservación y el mejoramiento de la estructura existente con materiales reciclados y de la optimización del manejo del agua y la energía. Diversos puntos de interés se ubicarán estratégicamente en todo el edificio para generar procesos circulares de colaboración en base a intereses comunes.
“El desarrollo urbano y social deben ir de la mano”, afirma el ganador de este premio. “Los distintos actores se complementan entre sí para generar valor en procesos circulares. Esto también genera empoderamiento en la comunidad.” El viejo edificio adquiere así una nueva identidad y se transforma en una estructura dinámica y abierta para usos comerciales, educativos y recreativos. La combinación de fines comerciales y culturales es una solución proactiva que fomenta la interacción comunitaria y la inclusión social, destaca el jurado. Marilyne Andersen agrega: “En este proyecto no se busca solamente preservar la construcción existente, sino también agregarle valor.”
Next Generation 3rd prize winner Improving Market in Mexico – Urban commercial rejuvenation and capacity building by …
Next Generation 3rd prize winner Pablo Goldin Marcovich, student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico …
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