By Pablo Arturo Ramírez Santamaría
The City Above The City – Housing the growing population
Case Study - Mexico City, Population: 8,841,916 (without metropolitan areas) – Unidad Adolfo Lopez Mateos / Nonoalco Tlatelolco – Chihuahua building.
The Tlatelolco was conceived as a city within a city, it was built in 1960 under the modernist movement influence in a 894,142.48 Square Meters area and is divided in three sections; Independencia, Reforma and Republica and it's the second largest largest apartment complex in North America. These super-blocks have educational, health and recreative infrastructure such as hospitals, clinics, schools, theaters, parks, sports centers, business centers, shops and parking lots. The super-blocks are well connected to public transport networks, major arterial roads and were conceived to to house up to 69,691 inhabitants.
According to a 2010 poll only 27,843 inhabitants live in Tlatelolco, this is because the student massacre in 1986 and the earthquake of 1985, when 12 buildings had to be demolished, others had weight and levels demolished, the remaining where reinforced with a thick concrete external structure. Nonetheless many neighbors left, the density dropped, maintenance budged to diminished and crime rates started growing.
Objective: Reactivate the Tlatelolco unit with a multi stage project that provides low and mid income families an alternative to Eco-friendly housing.
The first stage consists in building on the rooftop of the iconic Chihuahua building, located in front of the Plaza de las tres culturas, near the Corona Theater and the Church of Santiago, ten minutes walk from the Tlatelolco metro station and Metrobus line. This will be the Flagship development and will create a high impact on the perception of this particular “urban space”. The project will double the building's height and density with 288 new apartments in a wood structure made out of a cluster of KERTO Beams, with common areas shared within 4 units or more, garbage type separated chutes for recycling, rain water collection and purification for irrigation of public spaces, in addition solar water heating systems and induction stoves will be implemented to cut the natural or butane gas consumption. Strong and mild winds will drive a passive ventilation system for each individual apartment.
In a neighborhood scale, the pedestrian network will be remade, solar panels will ensure LED lights at night, and a bicycle lane network with bike storage boxes in key locations will be implemented to further enhance mobility.
The historical image will be preserved using preexisting proportion of the exterior concrete structure, only a diagonal wood beam will be installed to contrast the old style and new style. This project will rekindle the interest and investment in this unit and building new apartments on top of other buildings will be popularized and spread.