World’s Tallest Pyramidal Skyscraper


In September 2010, Mexico will celebrate 200 years since the beginning of its War of Independence against Spain. To commemorate this occasion, real estate developer Group DANHOS and Architects Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, announced plans to build a 984 foot (300m) skyscraper overlooking Mexico City’s historic Chapultepec Park. Slated for completion by the aforementioned date, this will be the tallest building in Latin America.

Its bold form has already received numerous derisive comments on forums. My reaction is one of ambivalence, perhaps tempered by its apparent historical inspiration. The dual pyramid design abstractly evokes the Templo Mayor, the great pyramid in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan that is today Mexico City. Even the voids that cut through the Torre Bicentenario (Bicentennial Tower) represent passages, their orientation carefully aligned as in its historical forebearer.

Press Release:

Grupo DANHOS has commissioned the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) to design Torre Bicentenario in the centre of Mexico-City. The tower will become the tallest of Latin America and will be completed in 2010, the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence.

The building is to accommodate 198,000 m2 of office space, a convention centre, site museum and gym as well as retail and restaurants. In addition a 196,000 m2 public parking garage is part of the project.

The 300 meter tall building will be located at the intersection of Reforma and Anillo Periférico, on the northeast corner of Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park, home to the Presidential residence..

The tower is envisaged as a symbol of the Bicentenario, 2010, the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.

The high-rise is conceived by the stacking of two pyramidal forms. This produces a form that is at once familiar yet unique. At the junction of the two pyramids, a sky lobby acts as the transfer point between shuttles and local elevators. This space will offer extensive views over the park and the city beyond.

Two voids penetrate the building at its widest point providing ventilation and natural light. Whilst traditional high-rises tend to internalize this feature with an atrium, the Torre Bicentenario, projects it onto the façade cutting into the building. A pattern of reflective glass panels covering 50% of the interior surface maximizes light penetration. The void twists at its midpoint, opening at the bottom toward the park and at the top toward the city, connecting the building to its surroundings.

The two districts adjacent to the Torre Bicentenario, Las Lomas and Polanco, are separated by a major highway. To provide a link between them, a new pedestrian bridge is proposed establishing a shortcut reconnecting formerly disengaged sections of the park and the city.

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