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Competition: Mextrópoli Pavilion, Mexico City

Arquine has opened its annual open international contest for a landmark $100,000 MXN temporary pavilion in Mexico City (Deadline: 9 January)

The Mexican research platform’s 19th annual competition seeks proposals for a recyclable and low-cost 150m2 building of any height, capable of hosting information displays and providing a playful public space.

The winning scheme will be constructed in time for the fourth Mextrópoli International Festival of Architecture, being held between 11 and 14 March 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.

Mexico City

Mexico City

Source: Image by Moritz Bernoully

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2016 by Alan David Orozco Martínez

According to the brief: ‘This year Arquine is focusing on a buildable and recyclable project which could be an architectural event in itself. A pavilion inserted temporarily in the city able to generate discourse on sustainable approaches, contemplating an open public programme and building a place for interaction between architecture and citizenship.

‘The Mextrópoli Pavilion will become a public space that promotes reflection on key issues for the city, a pavilion with a social vocation, which is recyclable and reusable, contemplating relocation and incorporated as a recreational device, information carrier and knowledge space for the 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.

Last year’s winner, architectural collective Alan David Orozco Martínez was chosen from 174 entries. Its winning scheme comprised a long precast concrete table, and was constructed for the Mextrópoli earlier this year.

Submissions should include a 60 x 90cm display board featuring a 250-word project description in either English or Spanish.

The winning scheme, set to be announced on 16 January, will receive $100,000 MXN. 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.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 9 January.


$80 USD

Contact details

Culiacán 123,
Annex 1er Floor
Cologne Hippodrome Countess
Federal District,
Mexico, 06170

Tel: +52 55 5208 2289

View the competition website for more information

Mextrópoli Pavilion 2016 case study: Q&A with Alan David Orozco Martínez, Luis Fernando Orozco Martínez, Roberto Elías Ransom Ruíz and César Iván Gutiérrez Alcantar

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

How did your competition-winning project create an appropriate temporary pavilion for the last Mextrópoli festival?

More than proposing a solution or bearing an ideological message or critique, we wanted to facilitate encounters and self-expression in the public sphere. It was important that the proposal was not the message but the medium, a starting point for dynamics and dialogue. A place like the Alameda or any of the other two proposed sites (plaza Tolsá and Tlatelolco) are already privileged public spaces.

Mexico City

Mexico City

Source: Image by Carlos Verón

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2016 by Alan David Orozco Martínez

We wanted our intervention to take advantage of these extraordinary-ordinary places by allowing us to live this space in a different format. A long communal table, hardly a groundbreaking idea, is lived as the meeting point between the domestic and public stages of life. A table symbolises community, domestic life and the city as our shared home. It is a plane that predisposes us to certain codes of conduct, there is a certain ritual to it, there is a mutual agreement of civility, of respect.

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness?

Once the table was installed, two elements were the key. First, assuming the dynamic and collaborative nature of the project and the implications that this entails. The table was not a final product, but a starting point, a canvas, a space that interacted with people and allowed to live as everyone’s table. It was a minimal intervention, limited in resources and time, as most projects are, and yet had a visible impact. We consider that its success lies in symbolism, in landing concepts in modest but palpable results. A key element was creating a programme of activities that complemented the pavilion, and following the simple adage of creating ‘something to do, somewhere to be and something to see’.

Mexico City

Mexico City

Source: Image by Moritz Bernoully

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2016 by Alan David Orozco Martínez

What advice would you have to participants on designing a pavilion for the next Mextrópoli festival?

Dare to think outside of the architectural discipline. Think in terms of urban dynamics, sociology, theatre and performance. Think about the self-built structures of marketplaces and fairs for example. Once you have understood the space and its dynamics, how the city works in that particular place, think about activities and situations you want to encourage and explore. Then you can materialise these insights and ideas into a physical object. We think simple and economical solutions that have an interactive quality to them are especially powerful. Also, at a contest stage, creating a powerful and simple narrative both textually and visually is key for transmitting your ideas.

Mexico City

Mexico City

Source: Image by Moritz Bernoully

MEXTRÓPOLI Pavilion 2016 by Alan David Orozco Martínez