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2018 MCHAP

Orchid Educational Pavilion

Francisco Gonzalez Pullido

Oaxaca City, Mexico

October 2017


Francisco Gonzalez Pulido / FGP Atelier


Werner (Sobek) Matthias (Schuler)


Fernando Garcia Torres and Alejandro de Avila


Manuel Garcia Diaz


The Orchid Educational Pavilion is intended to support the conditions for growing diverse species through sustainable systems (zero energy) while being a minimally invasive building. It is designed as an interactive tool to educate future generations in the vastness of the biodiversity of the region and inspire broader implantation of sustainable architecture. The small amount of energy it needs for its passive cooling and irrigation systems is provided by remote solar panels and a geothermal system. At the same time, modular units allow the structure to be extended, dismantled, or moved entirely if necessary. The Pavilion provides a unique experience within the Botanical Gardens through its materiality and the way that it frames its context. An entirely self-sustaining ecosystem, it challenges visitors to consider how they might live in a more sustainable manner as well as to reflect on what is required to sustain the life of delicate species and that might be required to sustain our own delicate existence in the future.


The Orchid Educational Pavilion sits within one of the most biologically diverse ecologies in the world and as part of an ensemble of cultural experiences. Beyond the physical site, the Pavilion is located in a part of Mexico with a unique building tradition, labor force, and construction expertise that would be integrated into the design. Mexican Artists Francisco Toledo and Luis Zárate and the Anthropologist and Biologist, Alejandro de Avila began creating the cultural ensemble that would become the Botanical Gardens of Santo Domingo in the summer of 1994. They hoped to crown their achievement with a pavilion for growing diverse species, conducting experiments, and teaching the community. Sam Thorne, writing in Frieze, adds, “Set within this museum-like garden, Gonzalez-Pulido’s light-footed pavilion offers several propositions to the questions that the next generation of museum planners will have to answer. A garden in the high valleys of Mexico may seem an unlikely place for such provocative thinking but, as Ian Hamilton Finlay once remarked: ‘Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks.’”


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