Located in the city of Puebla, and one of the five most important Spanish colonial cities in Mexico, the square was constructed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, when the invading French army, of Napoleone III, were defeated by the Mexicans despite being larger and better-equipped.
TEN Arquitectos proposed to reinterpret the traditional concept of the monument as a a public space to be used by the city and its people, thus winning the competition to design the iconic monument of the Battle of Puebla – 5 de mayo.
Located in the area of Los Fuertes, almost on top of the hill with an exquisite view of the city of Puebla, the project aims to create a dialogue between the city and its inhabitants.
Although the competition did not mention a specific program to develop, TEN Arquitectos proposes 3 covered places to revive the use of public space in the area, also, the design takes advantage of the existing topography as well as the stunning views.
A cafe, playroom and gallery are tucked beneath the artificial topography of this undulating public square in Mexico by architect Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos.
The square opens to the city, arising from the deliberate elevation of the existing level, open spaces and winding wrapped areas are created through the unfolding of the undulated sheet of wood. The areas covered by the artificial topography and the plaza create the proposed program which is translated into spaces that encourage gathering.
The first interstice becomes a multi-use gallery; its top creates an open amphitheater for events of different kinds. On another part of the plaza, lies a playroom designed for the recreation of children and older adults allowing them to enjoy interior and outdoor space.
The third gap formed by the undulated wooden plaza turns into a café, as it reaches the highest point of the place, its top emerges as a mirador.
Artificial resemblance of the original topography, the overlapping wooden layer offers a park of undulating movements. Doing homage, the plaza symbolizes one of the most important historical moments in Mexican history.
150 trees were located throughout the square, representing the years that mark the anniversary of the Battle of 5 de Mayo; the need of shade for the users comfort determined the location of the vegetation. The light poles reflect the number of battalions that fought, while its location points to the sites where the most important battles occurred.
Thus, the monument becomes an unexpected public space, a viewpoint that looks over the city and promotes a social and cultural exchange.
Article by Marco Rinaldi