Cervantes TheaterIn Mexico City, an underground theatre is flanked by a keystone-inspired structure, making a visual statement for a space that’s largely hidden from the outside world.
Cervantes-Theater-by-Ensamble-Studio-25Called Dovela (or keystone), the structure is intended to ‘lure’ people to its massive form which rises from the ground with angular lines , evidences its presence through a large metallic structure lifted from ground level, named Dovela (Keystone), which acts as a lure.
Cervantes TheaterWe understand contemporary culture as a constant expression of connectivity with the movements of time, and the layers of history that overlap and hybridize the Mexican culture are of great inspiration to make a work of architecture today.
Cervantes TheaterTherefore, the Dovela appears as a stone of air, supported by the space that comes from a sequence of excavated terraces; that offers to the sun which moves the time when going through its slats; and that protects from the rain and shelters us inside the earth.
Cervantes TheaterThe Dovela tries to collect all the resonances of the world emerging above it, to give them order. It is a mathematical object which allows the natural elements (water, light and air) to affect its last configuration. The excavated spaces articulated in a sequence of theater lobbies at different levels are given to the public and open to the sky, protected by the symbolic metal structure.
Cervantes TheaterThe project confronts the elemental natures with which it is built: the deep density of the negative space, of vertical character; and the horizontal tension of the air contained and supported by the Dovela, last key piece of an abstract balance that loses its weight to appear aerial, mutable and light as a cloud that qualifies the space in the ground by filtering sunlight rays.
Cervantes TheaterAnd the contact between the sun and the earth could not pick up patterns of the order of any of them. So in the design of the structure that generates the gravitational connection between the Dovela and the excavations in the ground, we decided on a very figurative solution, as if it were caryatids and Atlanteans; evoking diversity, reflecting the world of the man that will inhabit the space.
Cervantes TheaterTherefore, the supports are involved in the movement, in time, and are freely arranged in the space dance, relying on the rigidity of the structure its non symmetric disposition within the internal grid of the Dovela. By immersing ourselves in the negative space of the open excavated lobbies, we can have access to a new and final happening.
Cervantes TheaterOnce inside the earth, the Theater appears as the end of this sequence of spaces. Here the synthesis of the building culminates with the function of a halted time, recreated, a place to contemplate. The Cervantes Theater is a two-segment project that seems to draw both from European and Mexican heritage of critical regionalism.
Cervantes TheaterStanding next to the Soumaya Museum, the Theater appears to be even anachronistic, with its vocabulary of masses and voids competing with the self-indulgent exterior of its neighbor. Located in a former industrial zone of Mexico City, now planned for redevelopment, the building fits seamlessly into the surroundings.
Cervantes TheaterLocation: Mexico City, Mexico
Architects: Ensamble Studio
Chief Architect: Antón García- Abril
Associate Architect: Elena Pérez
Construction manager architect: Alba Cortés
Project Team: Débora Mesa, Joaquín Gallegos, Alba Beroiz, Jaime Alcayde, Cristina Moya, Juan Ruiz Antón, Tomaso Boano, Federico Letizia
Project Management: INPROS
Construction Company: GRUPO PC
Structural Engineering: COLINAS DE BUEN
Area: 11,500 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Roland Halbe, Ensamble Studio
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