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PILARES Valentín Gómez Farías


Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico

June 2022


Jose Castillo (Lead designer), Saidee Springall (Lead designer)


Ivan Cervantes (Design team), Facundo Savid (Design team), Gerardo Hernández (Design team), Karla García (Design team), Janisse Cruz (Landscape design


Mexico City Government


Onnis Luque, Sandra Pereznieto


The building is located within a park to the east of the city and had to be conceived within the limits of the park's old fronton courts, which were in a state of abandonment and contributed to the sale of illicit substances and crime in the neighborhood. Lattice-like walls frame the building at the east and west ends of the site, creating a reticular enclosure inside. This enclosure houses a series of naturally illuminated and ventilated educational spaces, thanks to a set of skylights oriented to the north at various heights, giving the building an iconic identity.

The classrooms are interconnected by a longitudinal walkway, making it more of a pavilion than a traditional building. Two gardens at the north and south ends welcome the center's users and serve as an extension of the park, hosting various programs such as seating areas, reading spaces, and an outdoor forum. This creates an educational system where learning also takes place outside the center. The project utilized noble materials such as concrete and red brick, which, due to their composition, are stable, robust, cost-effective, and highly durable. They resist various weather conditions and human use.


In January 2020, the government of Mexico City was interested in exploring new possibilities for a project based on a series of community learning centers for people of different ages in disadvantaged areas of the city. These centers would offer classes, workshops, recreational activities, and safe spaces for leisure and personal growth. This project was called PILARES (Points of Innovation, Freedom, Art, Education, and Knowledge). The building is located within a park in the eastern part of the city and had to be conceived within the limits of the park's former abandoned fronton courts, which were promoting the crime and sale of illicit substances in the neighborhood.

According to the project's program, the building prioritizes the young population who have dropped out of formal educational institutions, women who need to strengthen their economic autonomy, and communities that currently lack access to adequate cultural and sports facilities. As such, the facility offers activities focused on solving concrete problems that respond to the community's needs, promoting the development of people's capabilities and strengthening social cohesion.


The project was conceived within the limits of former fronton courts located inside Rosendo Arnaiz Park. Over time, without the incentive of an organization to manage them, this space fell into neglect and became a refuge for organized crime and the sale of illicit substances, posing a problem for the neighborhood and the community. By opening its doors, the community center not only reclaimed space from crime through this public policy model but also contributed to the revaluation and increased value of nearby properties in the area. The community embraced the building as a center for learning, cultural, and recreational activities, feeling at ease without fear of being adversely affected by criminal activities.

Additionally, Rosendo Arnaiz Park, the area surrounding the community center, has strengthened its primary activity of recreation. Nowadays, one can observe the presence of families with children seeking healthy leisure and the enjoyment of nature amid the densely populated city of Mexico.

Local authorities have described the project as "an open, transparent building with understated architecture and visible finishes, featuring natural light and cross-ventilation, translating into sustainability and energy efficiency."

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