Miguel Ángel Yunes Márquez, the then-mayor of Boca del Río, started the Boca del Río Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, and that has since become the heart of the cultural life in the city. The then-mayor asked to design a home for the orchestra, the chosen site was located in a deteriorated area of Boca del Río where the Jamapa River meets the Gulf of Mexico. The important decision was to think about the building as part of a larger urban regeneration project that also could tie to a three-mile boulevard that the mayor had already started to work on to improve the pedestrian experience along the waterfront. Also, the building entrance, besides being protected from the strong north winds, is connected to a series of public spaces. As the mayor had already chosen granite for the boulevard, we included it in our project so that the boulevard would go right into the building. Our aim was to make sure that the public spaces were considered as important as the building, giving back to the community by extending our plazas toward the beach, the breakwater, and the city.
Foro Boca, the house of the philharmonic orchestra serves as an urban detonator, cultural venue with the potential to trigger significant change in the local community and in the region at large. This new area is undergoing a new zoning development potencializing the immediate context.
It has become an urban landmark that spurs activity on its public plazas, where children play and families come to promenade. And everyone can enjoy the concerts that take place behind its walls, as video of the live performances is projected outside, across the building’s imposing planes.
We wanted to use a material that was able to withstand and respond to the harsh conditions of the place, so we chose concrete with a texture running in different directions. We were interested in the way it would develop a patina over time, similar to the nearby rocks in the breakwater. Initially, the project started as a big box that we broke down into smaller programs to give it the proper scale toward the beach, the pier, and the city. As you move around Foro Boca, your perception of the volumes’ scales changes.
The monumentality of the exterior carries into the interiors, expressed as soaring voids. Visitors enter the building beneath a cantilevered corner block, which hovers above the new public plaza. Inside, the main lobby is day-lit from skylights above and animated by suspended bridges and stairs that crisscross the space and flow to the auditorium’s different access points. The team limited the palette to concrete, granite, and wood. The materials express its construction logic inside and out. Understanding the local Mexican craft, the texture captures the light and shadow of the changing skies of Boca del Río.
Appropriating the language of the jetty’s crude concrete blocks, the building was conceived as a cluster of cube-like volumes to break down its 58,000-square-foot mass. Inside, the design includes a 966-seat performance hall surrounded by back-of-house functions, as well as rehearsal rooms and other spaces that can host additional cultural programs. There are more opportunities to bring interesting artistic expressions because the important thing is to maintain the quality of the culture that is inside.
Rojkind Arquitectos is a Mexico City-based innovative firm focusing on added value design, business tactics, and experiential innovation. We design urban strategies and architectural solutions by redefining challenging conditions as design opportunities. Collaborating with experts from different fields, we develop custom-made experiences for each one of our clients and end users, finding areas of opportunity and making us aware of our role in society and the importance of a shared responsibility. We seek architectural solutions, social and urban strategies that go beyond what is expected through an active engagement in creating possibilities and value.
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