Higueron Community Center
AGENdA agencia de arquitectura & Dellekamp/Schleich
Jojutla - El Higueron, Mexico
Derek Dellekamp, Camilo Restrepo Ochoa, Francisco Eduardo Franco
Our objective was divided on to two strategies. One purely urban, by opening the square to the northern west corner, in order to create a new relationship with the neighborhood and to create an openness for the public to come in freely. The other strategy was purely through the power of architecture to connect and articulate the city and the public space and the city. Therefore we set the building strategically between the sports field and the public park, while at the same time introducing and connecting the Tortilleria to the spatial system, mainly by an L shape building, slightly raised from the floor for also to make it perform as an Urban scenario. The project was meant to be administrated by the community of El higuerón, therefore we thought that maintenance was going to be almost non existent or could become a heavy burden. In order to protect the social infrastructure from decay and to ease the future maintenance we thought that to was best to offer a very austere and easy to access building, and adaptable to different social or programmatic definitions, that surely would change through time, specially after an earthquake. On the same line, we considered very important to keep the space ventilated free of machines and to have comfort without compromising a cost for the community.
On September 19th, 2017, An earthquake with a strength of 7.1, destroying almost all the town. No other town in Mexico was as damaged and destroyed as Jojutla. Almost all of its social infrastructure and housing was completely teared down.
The small town is located at 882 meters above sea level, with a warm climate almost all year round. Its surroundings are mostly for agriculture and its economy dependes on a rural basis.
With most of its infrastructure destroyed, INFONAVIT institute led a process for its reconstruction. First through the construction of public and community spaces for people to gather again.
The site is located in municipality of El Higueron and surrounded with beautiful mountains and a very exotic nature. The site itself is surrounded by a small sports field on the East side, and an existing taqueria that was mandatory to keep and rebuilt on the South West.
The site is squared shaped, leaving the other sides open and in direct contact with the street. This situation allowed the new building to mediate between the sports field and the Taqueria with the public space and the street. On the near by South West side the tower from the San Francisco de Asis church can be seen from the site, creating a visual relationship that was important to keep.
The performance of the scheme is to connect the city and the existing structures. The building opens in the middle as a permeable corridor to connect the sports field with the park, to allow citizens to enjoy the game but also be in touch with the park. The perimeter of the building allows the structure to connect with the slab and provide a space of the in-between, not fully inside, either outside, stimulating the visitors to sit in the stairs and enjoy the different activities that might take place, a building conscious of the relationships with the public space and the city. The structure in front of the plinth provides a spatial system for people to appropriate of its borders, giving the arcade a condition of urbanity under the shade. Being built in concrete - Slabs and structure, the arcade - and the interior and border walls in brick, it provides an austere finish, keeping the maintenance at a very low cost or almost non existent. The relationship with the park is open and with subtle variations, either as a bench, a plinth or a ramp, making it accesible and inhabited in many different ways. The floor plan is very urban, being established as a L it allows the interior space to be all connected and in relationship with the exterior, avoiding the need of artificial lights to be kept on all day. In the same line, ventilation takes place freely and in a natural way.