A total architectural redevelopment is taking place in the City of Pachuca in Hidalgo Mexico at the moment, one which is pushing the country’s architecture into new and exciting areas. Through a combination of funding from ejido societies (communal farms), government bodies and private sponsorship, urban development the ‘Zona Plateada’ (Silver Zone, an homage to the area’s historic silver mining background) was born, bringing with it a strong sense of community and culture.
In complimenting this architecturally strong village, a Cultural Park “Parque Cultural y Recreativo David Ben Gurion” was created, boasting a string of icons, all of which revolve around the central plaza, which was created by local plastic artist Byron Gálvez. If the striking 32,000 sqm mosaic mural has but one competing space, it is the surrounding Gota de Plata Auditorium Theatre.
Designed by Jaime Varon, Abraham Metta and Alex Metta of Migdal Arquitectos, as one of the surrounding cultural spaces (these also include the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Auditorama, the Park of Scultpures, the State Central Library, Convention Centre, Science and Technology Museum and 5-star hotel space) the theatre is a celebration of the best of Mexican design.
As the main element throughout the complex, the designers held a great sense of responsibility in designing a space that both lived up to the strong cultural sense, but also could be communicated on an international level. In completing this heavy brief, a central visual element was created – the ‘sea of colours’. It is in essence the reflection of the great mural plaza through mirror glass mullions laid out at a height of 25 metres with an overhang at both ends of nearly 40 metres.
Herein lies the founding design ideology that runs through the theatre on an almost fundamental level. The theatre space is a reflection of its surrounds, which it translates through the mirrored silver and black exterior, in honour of the Silver Zone, and the red and brown ‘living’ interior, which reflects the ‘heart’ of the project quite literally.
The project’s structural team comprised of Impulsora Tlaxcalteca de Industrias (ITISA) and Ingenieros Civiles (CTC) moved at such a pace throughout the construction process that the project was completed in just eleven months. Their speed and success was by and large due to innovative prefabricated concrete and steel pieces. Around 1500 tons of steel were used, including cantilever frameworks of over 40 meters long, as well as various precast concrete elements, such as columns, beams, gradins, slabs or false walls.
Accessibility took precedence as throughout both design and construction stages, with ramps included for functionality means, a central lobby to necessitate communication and flow as well as a mural viewing platform and major windows that offer light, space and a promotion of interior/exterior fluidity and continuity.
However architecturally sound, the designers were adamant to not simply make an aesthetically pleasing space. In order to make sure that the building was technologically sound, the designers explain that detailed studies were made of the adaptations and features of a good theatre in terms of both geometry and acoustic design. And these findings enabled the correct definition of angles and false ceilings in the hall. These studies were done with a virtual computer program called CATT – Acoustic V8-0a at MIT University in Boston.
“The voice of a person or the sound of a guitar or even a symphony orchestra can be heard with perfect acoustics from any point or corner of the hall” the designers says.
A striking architectural achievement, the Auditorium Theatre is a perfect example of modern design teams using an innovative use of technology in order to convey distinct design characteristics, culture and functionality.