- Sustainable Architecture
- LafargeHolcim Awards 2017, Latin America, 2017 gold award to Mexico
The LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Latin America targets unfinished projects at advanced stages of planning. It aims to highlight approaches that go beyond the standards to find sustainable responses to the various environmental, socioeconomic and cultural problems afflicting our world. The jury was seeking innovative and “sustainable solutions for urgent water problems”, which could inject new ideas and concepts into the approach to building.
This is exactly what happened with “Hydropuncture”, a publicly accessible water retention and treatment complex on the hillside of Sierra Santa Catarina in Mexico City, for a 28,000-strong community in urgent need of green spaces and recreation areas as well as a flood control and a wastewater treatment system.
The team from UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) came with their “hydropuncture” idea to propose an interesting mix of water catchment systems on the low-lying basins and a series of green courtyards on the terraced slope, passing through the gentle wetlands to the harder surface of the hill. These soft surfaces have not been sealed like in other areas of the city and have been turned into valuable allies in rainwater management during heavy rainfall, slowing down the water flow towards the retention and treatment basins.
But Hydropuncture looks beyond just the environmental advantages, and is an urban park to all intents and purposes, with varied landscapes, a community space, a real oasis in the everyday life of this impoverished district. In the words of the jury: “The project gave equal attention to technical considerations of water management, social provision of public space and the economies of construction as well as long-term maintenance”.
The team estimates that the solar-powered water treatment system will filter 68,000 cubic metres of runoff per year. 86.4 m3 per day will be treated for further use in the public toilets, that currently have no running water. Furthermore, the park will more than triple the number of trees in the area, increasing public space from one to three square metres per person.
So, Hydropuncture is a turning point in the perception and management of water and public spaces, mainly benefiting the community who can finally enjoy a green area, where water has been collected and recovered as a precious element of the urban design, not like other areas where it is channelled and hidden, with huge repercussions on the territory and the people.
Main authors: Manuel Perló Cohen and Loreta Castro Reguera, UNAM
Further authors: Yvonne Labiaga, Elena Tudela, Víctor Luna, and Fernando Gómez, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico; Oscar Torrentera, HUVA Consultoría; Julian Arroyo, D202; Sara Sour, Virens Arquitectura Paisaje Ingeniería; Gustavo Rojas, Área Común; Néstor Rangel, Taller Capital; José Antonio Poncelis and Jorge Compeán, GAIA; Alejandra Ramos, Emilio Ponce, Jetro Centeno, Margarita Gorbea, Oscar Díaz, and Lino Pau; all Mexico City, Mexico
Images: courtesy by Loreta Castro Reguera
Find out more regarding LafargeHolcim Awards: https://www.lafargeholcim-foundation.org/