Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS (Aug. 18, 2015):
The oldest testimonies that we have about Avenida Chapultepec go back to 1532, when the so-called Calzada San Juan was being built. The neighborhoods of San Juan and San Pablo (today: Zona Rosa and Roma-Condesa) were located on both sides of the way. It is very possible that the street followed the path of a Pre-Hispanic road, which used to connect the city with Chapultepec, where the Aztec emperors rested.
Along this road, an aqueduct provided water to Mexico City. Its arches were built in the 18th Century by José Ángel de Cuevas y Aguirre. Originally numbering 160, only 22 arches exist today. The aqueduct started at a fountain, which is situated today next to Metro Chapultepec, in very bad shape, and ended in the fountain of Salto del Agua.
In 1847, the Chapultepec Avenue was a crucial path during the fight against the American troops, which conquered the city. Fifty years later, in 1900, the first electrical tramway ran along this street. This drove Enrique Echániz Brust, one of the pioneers of Mexican cinema, to film it in 1905, and so, the avenue became one of the very first urban spaces in the history of Mexican cinema. Decades later, when the students demonstrated in 1968, under their feet was being built the first subway line. The stations of the first line Chapultepec, Sevilla, Insurgentes and Cuauhtémoc opened in 1972.
As the centuries went by, the calm Pre-Hispanic road, which ran along the water canal, was transformed into a high-speed avenue, negligent to its context and historic richness. Avenida Chapultepec became some sort of dividing line or imaginary wall between Zona Rosa and the Condesa-Roma neighborhoods. The beginning of the promenade became a hotchpotch of commercial stalls as the subway and bus stations where established.
The Cultural Corridor Chapultepec
The Cultural Corridor Chapultepec (CCC) is a proposal to give back Avenida Chapultepec to the pedestrians and alternative vehicles other than automobiles. It is a finger of the Chapultepec Park that gets into the urbane space to make the citizens aware about how crucial the presence of green areas are for the life quality in any city.
The new CCC runs from the Chapultepec Park down to the Glorieta de los Insurgentes. Along this area of 0.8 miles (1,3 kilometers), urban space will be reinvented. New lanes for buses will be opened and the cars will be pushed to the sides in order to broaden the central space and reach a maximum of 57 meters.
The main promenade will run along the center of the avenue at street level. Specific lanes for bikes, skaters, wheelchairs and strollers will be built. Pedestrian crosswalks have been strategically designed in order to access the central space from the sidewalks and avoid accidents.
"This project will organise the surroundings, will double the green areas, will enhance connectivity and will celebrate the cultural diversity of the city" – Fernando Romero, general director of FR-EE
The upper level will have retail and a promenade for pedestrians with a carefully designed green landscape. There has been a special focus in the selection of the flora according to the urban context: it will not only provide shade to the public, but it will also have a crucial impact in mitigating the “heat island” effect. For the irrigation and services, recycled rainwater will be used.
"We are taking advantage of the space above the street to create an elevated park and generate a new quality public space for meeting people" – Juan Pablo Maza, general director of FRENTE
Electrical energy will be provided by solar cells. The bubble decks of recycled PET will yield a positive thermic and structural impact.
The CCC will transform the context by recovering its history. It will become a road to heal the diminished urban tissue and, in general, it will be a trigger to think about the urban paths in Mexico City and elsewhere in the country. Instead of being a dividing wall, it will become a meeting point and will facilitate an active mobility between both sides. Our ecological commitment compels us to take care of every single tree and to add plants that suit best this specific context.
"We want the Cultural Corridor Chapultepec to celebrate the social call of public space as a generator of urban life by means of creating a new, exciting, active and multicultural destination" – Ruysdael Vivanco de Gyves, general director of RVDG
The CCC will be divided in different zones according to the blocks, so different arts will become the specific character of each part. Every zone will have a symbolic color.
This way, Avenida Chapultepec will resume its rightful role as a laboratory for urban experimentation: it began as a road for the Aztec emperors, a path for the water used and drank by of the capital, the venue used by the American army, the circuit for the most modern and innovative vehicles, such as the first electric tram and the first subway.