A City

By Romero.Santana (Juan Carlos Romero Alvarez, Juan Bernardo Santana Gonzalez)

City above the city means for us an opportunity to renovate the way cities are built and lived. Mexico City is a good example of how this challenge can be approached, a city that uproots over the water and is developed in 1,495 square kilometers and occupies the 12th place in the ranking of the most populated and dense cities in the world with a total of 20,230,000 inhabitants and a population density of 3,500 population per square kilometer. Nowadays the city experiments the effects of a disorganized unlimited growth that had caused a lack of services and mobility conflicts, which is reflected in a poor quality of life for a large number of its inhabitants.

As a city Recovery process we decided to take housing to the Historic Centre through the promotion of bringing life to the rooftops and stop new constructions in the city boundaries; meanwhile through this strategy the city becomes more compact, public spaces are transformed, infrastructure is updated and buildings are recycled.

The proposal seeks to revitalize the city and satisfy the housing demand. By bringing new people is required to give them new public spaces designed on contemporary lifestyle so residents can live fully. Under this premise we chose to develop the new structure over more than one rooftop without covering the entire surface providing a free floor plan. The new building has a maximum number of 6 floor plans to avoid overpopulation. With a modular design the building fits in different roof dimensions and various heights. Alignment follows a pattern that retracts from the façade in order to keep a balance between heights, street width and human scale. By using a  triangular shape WOODEN STRUCTURE the building anchors to the major columns from the preexisting building leaving a central double height public space where converges a series of balconies from the two apartment sub modules that reveals everyday life without compromising privacy.


25 apartments per building with 3 different floor plan arrangements are proposed in base of the user requirement. The way to access to the cover is through an elevator located in block center, in this case is placed in the cafeteria which is a 1 floor storey and has free front space. Once on the rooftop a serie of stairs and runways give access to the new flats. The hallways are also used to generate living spaces, by opening the roll up wooden door, the inner space can be extended to these terraces.

The modules are naturally heated by taking advantage of the crossed ventilation and correct insolation. An artificial topography is placed on the cover to implement vegetation and hide facilities and structural elements. The new rooftop design allows rain water catchment systems.

The proposal design model can be placed in most of the roofs of the city, or to be taken to other cities from other countries. This system allows a progressive growth so cities can develop it at their own rhythm.

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs