Diego Rivera began the great dream of achieving the City of Arts in the South of Mexico City in a landscape of volcanic stone with native vegetation. In the 40's he began to imagine how to carry out his project in this place, he invited Juan O'Gorman and his daughter Ruth Rivera to collaborate. They imagine buildings with the same stone of the place, they carry out the first exercises of murals on the ceilings with the colored stones that they later carried out in Ciudad Universitaria.
The Anahuacalli Museum began with a hard square with a submerged patio 45cm from the general surface with buildings that make it up with freed corners. Diego Rivera started the central building that was his studio and where he housed his most important pre-Hispanic pieces, but in the midst of construction, on its second floor, Diego Rivera died in 1957. Juan O'Gorman and Ruth Rivera decided to continue the project, in the 60's they finished the central and four buildings more that finish the central square. To the east an administrative building, to the west two buildings with an exhibition hall program and another as a library, to the north the collection warehouse for the 60 thousand pre-Hispanic pieces not exposed to the public.
The Anahuacalli started to offer art and math workshops to the community, maked more exhibitions with certain limitations in its infrastructure, for this reason they decided to hold an expansion contest to achieve this goal in the adjoining land where the ecological reserve is located. Our winning project of the contest build new buildings in open reading to the trace of the pre-existing buildings and achieve a new relationship to a soft square where a patio emerges that is the fourth part of the submerged patio of the hard square. The new buildings have the same floor and ceiling level as the existing ones, only leaving the main building, which was Diego Rivera's studio, at a different height. To the south is the visiting cellar where the 60,000 pieces that were not previously on display but that the public can now visit are now housed. To the west is the workshop building with a large dance hall that also functions as a multipurpose room for conferences and concerts, porticoes opening onto an internal courtyard, and two rooms for plastic arts and mathematics. To the north is the office building and to the east it is made up of the pre-existing buildings, achieving an extension to the library. These new buildings together with the existing ones create a new public space with a central patio and free corners. By respecting the levels of the central plaza in the new buildings, the dock and the patio become the articulators between built spaces, leaving below a rugged topography of the volcanic landscape that allows open roofed spaces at certain points to achieve two new open-air workshops. Existing buildings take on a new program or expand it.
The buildings are recessed in their base to achieve less impact with the landscape, the materiality of the new buildings with concrete and volcanic stone slabs in their base, in walls and in the lattice machine cut from 30x15cm pieces. With a height of 90cm, assembled and interwoven, they achieve in their modulation an open lattice with openings that are regulated in view of the landscape. The old warehouse now becomes the maintenance area, construction of museographies and reception of works for exhibitions, the administrative area in a cafeteria, shop and toy library, and the library increases in size.
The Anahuacalli Museum is a place that provides a large public space in addition to offering the last period of Diego Rivera and the collection of his pre-Hispanic pieces that he donated to the people of Mexico.
Achieving the extension implied an open dialogue with the architecture preexistent with a contemporary interpretation and the great challenge of building in the ecological reserve, which is one of the few examples where its ecosystem has not been altered, with the least possible impact and that the intervention manages to be a linker and not an aggressor.
Project and artistic direction: Mauricio Rocha
Design team: Mauricio Rocha, Adrian Iturriaga, Elisa Murillo, Israel Espín, Juan Carlos Montiel, David Noble