Memorial to Victims of Violence in Mexico

Gaeta Springall Architects: The site is in Chapultepec, the most important park of Mexico City. This part of the forest belongs to the Federal Government and was under the custody of the Secretariat of National Defense for many decades, so, first of all, the memorial project means the recuperation of 15,000 square meters of public space. In this project, we give material form to one of the most important issues of contemporary Mexican society: violence. In response to this, we propose an open project, open to the city and open to appropriation by its citizens: a space that exists in a state of complete openness to the city and the people.

In this manner, the project plays the double role of public space and memorial. Violence is suggested in two dimensions: the void and the built. On one hand, the void proposed in the project is the space created between the steel walls and the trees. The void evokes the non-presence and the absence of the victims. On the other hand, the surfaces of the steel walls, rusty or mirroring, show that we can be contained or lost, and that we can add or multiply ourselves. Thus, if we see violence as destruction, building these seventy walls acts as an antidote to violence. The walls appear among the trees, setting off a dialogue between nature and architecture: forest of trees and forest of walls.

In the central space, which is the main space of the memorial, there is a 1,200-square-meter reflective pool with an undetermined form and open geometry. It is open and undetermined like the rest of the project: an unfinished form that fuses materials. It is here that the walls shine in all their glory, arresting and dramatic, reflected shapes in the pools, drawing the eye to the skies and the water, elements that are natural and infinite. They become mirrors or canvasses. In them, visitors will see their reflection as well as the forests and will also be able to write, draw and express their feelings.

Project name: Memorial to Victims of Violence in Mexico
Completion date: April, 2013
Location: Mexico City (Mexico)
Designer: Gaeta Springall Architects (Julio Gaeta / Luby Springall)
Photographer: Sandra Pereznieto
Area: 15,000 m2

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