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Competition: Mextrópoli Pavilion 2019, Mexico City

Arquine has reopened its annual international contest for a landmark $100,000 MXN temporary pavilion in Mexico City (Deadline: 7 January)

The Mexican research platform’s 21st annual competition seeks proposals for a recyclable and low-cost 150m² building of any height, capable of hosting local information displays and providing a playful public space.

The winning scheme will be constructed in time for the sixth Mextrópoli International Festival of Architecture, being held in March next year in Mexico City. The Mextrópoli Pavilion structure may also be rebuilt for other future events, providing a recognisable forum for public engagement in art and design.

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2017 by Matteo Gidoni and Enrico Dussi

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2017 by Matteo Gidoni and Enrico Dussi

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2017 by Matteo Gidoni and Enrico Dussi

According to the brief: ‘Arquine calls to design and build a pavilion that inserts in the city temporarily, able to generate, from its own discourse, a sustainable approach, which contemplates an open public programme, and to build a place for interaction between architecture and citizenship.

‘The Mextrópoli Pavilion will become a travelling purposeful device that every year opens global space competition … generating ideas that revolve around the development process of architecture and the city, which in turn will become the benchmark per se of each edition of the festival of architecture and city.’

With a population of 20.5 million, Mexico City is the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere and one of the most important settlements in the Americas. The Mextrópoli festival aims to generate conversations between visitors and experts, promoting creativity, critical thinking and participation in order to generate new ideas about architecture and urban design in Mexico.

Since 1998 Arquine has hosted an international competition exploring issues relating to architecture and urbanisation in Mexico and encouraging greater dialogue with the public.

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2016 by Alan David Orozco Martínez

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2016 by Alan David Orozco Martínez

Source: Image by Moritz Bernoully

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2016 by Alan David Orozco Martínez

Architectural collective Alan David Orozco Martínez was chosen from 174 entries to win the 2016 commission. Its winning scheme comprised a long precast concrete table. The winner of the 2017 contest was A ROOM by the Italian architects Matteo Gidoni and Enrico Dussi.

Submissions should include a 60 x 90cm display board featuring conceptual diagrams, plans, layouts, sections and a 250-word project description in either English or Spanish.

The winning team, set to be announced on 17 January, will receive $100,000 MXN to deliver their scheme. There will also be a second prize of $50,000 MXN and a third prize of $25,000 MXN.

Construction of the winning scheme is due to commence in February and complete in time for the festival launch in March. There will also be a public exhibition of the prize-winning designs and honourable mentions in May.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 7 January



Contact details

Culiacán 123
Annex 1er Floor
Cologne Hippodrome Countess
Federal District

Tel: +52 55 5208 2289

View the competition website for more information

Mextrópoli 2018 Pavilion case study: Q&A with Bianchimajer + Anna Merci

The winners of last year’s contest discuss lessons learned designing a temporary pavilion for Mexico City

How did your competition-winning project deliver a landmark pavilion for the annual Mextrópoli festival?

From the outside, I-CONO is an object alien to the context, which is able to attract attention for the plasticity and simplicity of its shape, for its size, contrast of colours and for its materiality. Surrounded by colonial buildings, towers with offices, blooming jacarandas, street cleaners dressed in bright pink, the mural by Diego Rivera, and congested streets, I-CONO does not go unnoticed. From within, I-CONO offers an exceptional experience, an emotion, an atmosphere, a sound and a memory in the head of the visitor.

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

We wanted to create a simple and pure volume, both from the outside as a city landmark, and from the inside. The truncated cone shape meets this demand very well because it enfolds the visitor and at the same time it allows people to see the sky. Our dream was to create a pantheon near the Alameda Central.

We wanted the structure and the architectural technique to be simple and clear. We liked to imagine that we could use only one material, which had to be different from the usual ones, but with a simple and traditional laying technique. Water containers, for their robustness and for the fact that they can be piled up, seemed perfect for this project.

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

During the construction phase, the making was more complex than we thought, but Factor Eficiencia was able to come up with an effective, robust and aesthetically plastic architectural method. Most importantly, this method is effective also in disassembling the pavilion and reassembling it quickly in its new and final location at the entrance for the public at the botanic gardens Huerto Roma Verde.

Moreover, the water containers allowed us to create a semi-transparent casing that modifies perception inside the building. When you are inside I-CONO, the noises from the outside are muffled, the sounds from the inside echo, the light is filtered through the water, and the containers project on the ground their shadow, which is dark blue but changes throughout the day.

What advice would you have to contest participants on participating in this year’s competition?

Enjoy the contest. Be brave, experiment and leave your comfort zone. To the winner: you should go to Mexico City and learn from every team member of Factor Eficiencia (the constructor) how to build a pavilion. Your pavilion will not belong to yourselves, but to all the inhabitants (and not just to them) of Mexico City.

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

Q&A with Anna Adrià

The coordinator discusses her ambitions for the competition

Why are your holding an international contest for a temporary pavilion?

Arquine’s Competition has been organised since 1998 and it seeks to explore issues of importance and relevance to society, encourage the opening of spaces for dialogue as well as promoting the architect’s engagement in matters determined by a projective response in which national and international participation are promoted. In 2016, after 18 years, we transformed the spirit of this call in order to redirect it to a buildable project; an architectural event in itself. Since then, the contest aims to build a pavilion, the Mextrópoli Pavilion, which can generate its own discourse as well as an innovative and sustainable proposal that not only provides an open public programme but also a space for the interaction between architecture and citizenship.

The competition is international, anonymous and open, so we can receive more than 250 proposals from any part of the world. The key to any good contest lies with the jury. Their experience and the method of evaluation to be used guarantee the contest’s transparency and quality. Plurality is an important part of the jury pool and something we look for.

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

What is your vision for this year’s pavilion?

The Mextrópoli Pavilion will become the benchmark of the Festival of Architecture and City. The pavilion will be placed in Alameda Central, the oldest public park in America. The intervention area must not exceed 150m², it can be disposed freely within this range surface. There is no height limitation. All parts of the pavilion must be self-supporting and not rely on external elements. The decisions made in the design of the pavilion must be clearly reasoned in the proposal and respond to a general approach or intention for the Mextrópoli Pavilion.

Contestants must design a structure that accomplishes the requirements set by the rules of the competition in terms, costs and characteristics.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

The invitation is open to architects and architecture students all over the world. Teams, collective and individual participants are welcome. The groups may incorporate professionals or students from other disciplines.

This is a perfect context where architects and artists can make their names internationally, not only because they will build the main pavilion in Mextrópoli, but because the winning team will be published in Arquine and different architectural platforms around the world.

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

MEXTRÓPOLI 2018 Pavilion by Bianchimajer and Anna Merci

Are there any other recent temporary pavilion projects you have been impressed by?

One project that impressed me was Warming Huts in Winnipeg (Canada); where some pavilions are brought out to the Red River Mutual Trail for visitors to skate to, interact with, and enjoy. During Mextrópoli, we coordinate the installation of more than 20 pavilions in Alameda Central, and in the last edition there were some projects that were beautiful and impressive such as ( ) Pavilion by Kababie Arquitectos + Taller paralelo + Michan Architecture + Colectivo Seis, Pabellón 1800, made by SCI-Arc students, Semillero efímero, and Ruedo Entretejido. I invite everyone to participate in the Arquine Competition and to come to Mextrópoli 2019 (9-12 March).