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PILARES Cuicuilco

TO, +UdeB Arquitectos, AGENdA agencia de arquitectura

Cuicuilco, Mexico City, Mexico

July 2022


Carlos Enrique Facio Gaxiola (Co-Lead Designer), Jose Amozurrutia (Co-Lead Designer)


Carlos Zedillo (Project Manager), Oscar Trejo (Estructural Engineer), Hugo Sanchez (Landscape Design), Enrique Zenon (MEPF engineer), Alberto Herrera (Models


Javier Ariel Hidalgo Ponce


Jaime Navarro


Our first concern was to ensure that the buildings managed water due to the periods of scarcity of this resource in Mexico City. Therefore, the first thing we considered that should be repeated in the three projects was an inverted roof to capture rainwater. The second consideration, understanding that we had to develop three projects, was to ensure that both the construction system and the public and urban spatial structure could be preserved despite contextual differences, which implied designing a logic and a system. We opted for slender modular steel structures, almost entirely resolved with a single square profile of 10cm per side, whose variations configure columns and beams with open flanges. We used certified laminated wood as complementary structural material, to highlight its environmental and architectural virtues as a renewable construction material in a public building. In these buildings, the structure is a form that defines and articulates the subtle boundary between interior and exterior space, aiming above all to be easily accessible by connecting with urban dynamics, as well as being an open and illuminated attraction throughout the day.


The government of Mexico City issued an invitation for a design competition aimed at developing small community centers in different neighborhoods. The Innovation, Freedom, Art, Education, and Knowledge Centers (PILARES, in Spanish) are part of a comprehensive community educational policy aimed at regenerating social fabric in priority areas through the participation of their inhabitants, regardless of their social and economic status or cultural beliefs. PILARES aims to reduce violence and inequalities. The policy is primarily focused on addressing areas with lower Social Development Index, higher population density, with a greater presence of young people aged 15 to 29, and where there are issues of violence.
The brief called for the creation of specific programs based on the demographics, needs, and vocation of the local residents. TO (Mexico), +UdeB (Colombia), and AGENdA (Colombia) were each selected to design one of these centers. After discussions among the three studios, it was decided that a collaborative approach would be the most sensible way to proceed.
The plot designated for the PILARES Cuicuilco had scarce and complex dimensions (very narrow and very long), as it was a remnant of the urban fabric. It is located near the entrance of three large residential complexes, and very close from the iconic and magnificent Cuicuilco’s Pyramid.


In PILARES Cuicuilco the street becomes ramp, articulating the courtyards of endemic vegetation with the flexible interior spaces of the building.
Hosts Cultural, Educational, Technical and Sport activities. It has a full schedule from Monday to Saturday from to 7pm. The most demanded activities by neighbors are Guitar, Ballet, Computer Programming, Tai Chi, Ciclying, Embroidery and Yoga.
The route culminates on the rooftops, which serve as flexible outdoor spaces, and are expected to eventually function as urban gardens, providing unobstructed views of the geographic landmarks.

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