Over the past few decades, Mexico City has seen an enormous population boom. Though the steady influx of people is great, the city center is in desperate need of more office, retail, and living space. However, because of Mexico City’s historical significance, federal and local law prohibit the destruction of historical buildings (which is nearly everything) and have placed strict height regulations on new structures, keeping them shorter than eight stories. Thus, with nowhere to go, BNKR decided to invert a massive building design that digs deep into the heart of the city.
The first 10 stories of the structure will be a Pre-Columbian museum. The glass ceiling will allow people walking through the plaza to enjoy the artifacts below as well. The next 10 stories will be for retail and housing. These floors were put below the museum so people would have to travel through it and explore the history of the city they would perhaps otherwise ignore. The following 35 floors will be office spaces.
The whole design boasts a massive central void that allows natural light and ventilation to flow through every single floor. The “Earth Lobbies” on every 10th level also helps keep the building air fresh and clean, with enormous plant beds and vertical gardens filtering air toxins and producing more oxygen. These lobbies also serve as an open and clean communal area to break up and brighten the structure.
The very bottom floors of the Earthscraper are for all of the technical parts of the building. A water turbine generator pushes water into the exterior wall pumps and recycles used and clean water for the building’s facilities while also powering most of the electricity.
Named the Zocalo, the 190,000 square foot city center plaza is the ideal spot for an earthscraper. Surrounded by monuments like the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace, and Constitution Square, as well as a massive underground subway station, it is one of the most heavily trafficked sites of the city. BNKR’s design allows for the historical aesthetics of the plaza to remain while a bustling eco-center hums underground.