area 108 | Mexico City

architect: GDU

location: Mexico City

year: 2007

The intention of the project is to create a high-technology office campus to provide space for call centers, service centers and data centers; with world-class specifications. The campus will hold 6 office buildings with a total area of 120,000 sqm; and parking space for 3,500 cars. A small shopping area, restaurants and service center will also be built on site. The completed project will accommodate from 8,000 to 10,000 office workers. Our office was hired to review the master plan and to design all open spaces (plazas, gardens, on-grade parking, pedestrian ways, etc.). In addition, our office designed the reception building, cafeteria and pergolas as well as a small transit center and police substation under an adjoining underpass bridge.
Landscape architecture
There are several items which conceptually guided the project and were integrally considered.
A) Water. The landscape architects with consulting engineers developed the concept to collect rain water from the roofs of buildings and plazas, store it in retention cells and send it to deep wells (at approximately 80 meters) to recharge the city aquifer. In addition, water from restrooms is treated on site, stored in pools and fountains and recycled to irrigate gardens and parking areas. In parking areas, rain water is retained and filtered with lava rock to irrigate trees and grass pavers. Excess water from roads is sent to city drainage.
B) People. Another design consideration for the project is wayfinding within the campus, establishing identity and sense of place through the three main gardens. One is the “civic” and entry garden, another is the “central” and natural garden and the third is the “still” garden. Each garden provides opportunities to rest, talk, and meet people –with eating facilities, and areas for coffee and snacks. The grid pattern establishes clear pedestrian axis and allows for users to walk under the porticoes and overhangs of buildings. Another concern is to provide comfort and safety through connections with the transit lines and metro subway system, including the effort to design and transform surrounding detrimental urban environments such as the adjacent underpass bridge.
C) Design. The landscape architects worked closely with the client-developer and office building architects to define the master plan. We designed ancillary and complementary buildings, co-designed the vertical sculpture symbol, seating, and pools, gardens and plazas. We also coordinated exterior lighting, traffic flows, pedestrian movement and hydraulic engineering.
D) Aesthetics. The intention of this project is to provide a variety of high quality environments trough the presence and reuse of water, transforming a problem into an opportunity, within a demanding working condition. Also, to transform a section of the city from industrial to post-industrial through tertiary and better-paid jobs, and to revert a section of Mexico City which is not attractive nor is part of present market trends.

Grupo de Diseño Urbano was established in 1977 by Mario Schjetnan and José Luis Pérez. It is an interdisciplinary design association geared to produce integrated concepts of environmental design, connecting architecture, landscape architecture and urban design in spatial, aesthetic and social contexts. Our design philosophy is based on the conviction that urban and  rural environmental design must be transformed by means of a creative process, in balance with nature, and carefully looking to local culture, climate and surroundings; involving the participation of the client or user. Projects are set up in an interdisciplinary form and based, depending on its characteristics, with the advice of specialists in art, social sciences, economics, environment, finance, ecology, civil and systems engineering. Our goal is to achieve imaginative and contemporary solutions to old, new or every day design problems. These solutions have to be feasible, efficient and aesthetic, with the conservation and the improvement of the environment.