Ground design

Rozana Montiel puts the courtyard at the heart of the Mexico City community center

A series of bridges, walkways and outdoor stairways connect different parts of this community center in one of Mexico City’s most densely populated neighborhoods by Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura.

The building occupies a sharp corner lot, where a plaza forms the entrance to the building. A series of columns mark the entrance to the space, while leaving the area open.

Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura designed the community center

The Pedro Vélez Community Center was developed by the government of Mexico City under its PILARES program, which stands for “Points of Innovation, Freedom, Art, Education and Knowledge”.

This initiative aims to create opportunities for citizens in underserved areas and was shortlisted in the Civic Building category of the Dezeen Awards 2022.

Court Rozana Montiel
Walkways and bridges connect parts of the building

“The PILARES are strategically distributed in vulnerable areas of the city that lack cultural infrastructure,” explained Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura, the studio directed by Rozana Montiel.

Its iteration of the PILARES program is located in the Presidentes de México neighborhood in the south of the city. According to the studio, this is one of the most densely populated parts of Mexico City.

Rozana Montiel Community Center
The center occupies a sharp corner lot

“Since this area lacks open spaces, sports facilities, parks, squares and gardens, PILARES Pedro Vélez was designed as a public, inclusive and multifunctional space that replaces the idea of ​​barriers for platforms meeting,” the studio said.

A covered walkway leads to the center of the building, where a multipurpose courtyard welcomes the community. This space is slightly sunken, which allows it to be used in different ways.

“The depression of a patio that functions as a forum also serves as a bench or a meeting place”, explains Rozana Montiel’s studio.

Multipurpose court
Various activities take place in the rooms surrounding the courtyard

The rooms surrounding the courtyard contain a variety of uses, including workshops, a computer lab, a gym, a dance studio, and meeting spaces.

There are also open-air spaces containing vegetable gardens within the grounds of the center.

Courtyard below Rozana Montiel
The courtyard is slightly below

“The architectural program distributes the forums and halls over two floors which are interconnected by a system of platforms, landscaped courtyards, bridges and corridors,” the studio said.

On the ground floor, one of the largest studios faces the central courtyard, opening onto it through high pivoting bay windows.

“[It] seeks to become a recreational cultural oasis which, despite being located on a very small site and in an area of ​​insecurity, [has an] an interior experience that gives the feeling of openness and diversity of spaces,” he added.

Rozana Montiel used a limited range of materials, including concrete and steel painted in a pink hue to match the concrete.

The studio chose to use concrete in a variety of applications, including as a structural material and as a system of screens that help ventilate the building naturally.

Concrete community center
Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura used an abundance of concrete

The government of Mexico City recently commissioned Team730 to redesign the entrance to the city’s iconic Chapultepec Zoo.

Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura has carried out another public leisure project in the port of Veracruz which is formed by an oversized roof that covers a variety of sports fields and community spaces.

After the 2017 earthquake hit the country, the studio took on volunteer commissions to design homes for disaster-affected families.

The photography is by Sandra Pereznieto.


Project credits:

Collaborators: Cristóbal Pliego, Adriana Rodríguez, Margherita Vegro, Arlette Plata
Customer: Gobierno de la Ciudad de México (Mexico City Government) | Guest by PienZa Sostenible