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Centro Cívico de Tamulté

Estudio MMX

Tamulté de las Sabanas, Tabasco, Mexico

August 2021


Jorge Arvizu Soto (Founding Partner)


Valeria Fernández (Architect designer), Alin Gamboa (Architect designer), José Estrada (Architect designer), Lorena Núñez (Architect designer)


SEDATU – Rep. Silvia Elisa Chi Cervera


Dane Alonso


The project rearticulates the civic, sports and social activities that occur in front of the most important church in town. The understanding of the dynamics and pre-existing elements and programs of the plaza was decisive in defining the six main quadrants that would organize this new collective space.
An arch like concrete structure that originates from a rectangular grid and then rotates while incorporating different heights and recognizing the different programmatic components, defines the quadrants of the plaza and creates a collection of open spaces articulated by porticoes. A new and continuous framing system links and give position to a multi-use court to the north (covered by a pre-existing arch-roof), a hard civic plaza in the center, and surrounds a government building to the south.
The heights of the porticoes adapt to the uses and structures to which they are linked: At the western end, a set of gardens coexists with children's play areas and amphitheaters integrating the recreational spaces into the sequence of landscaped platforms and providing privacy and control. At the east end, three sectors are used for civic activities; an amphitheater with floor fountains, a central garden, and a new atrium for the church that complements its activities.
More than shadow and places to linger -even though they were important- the element that was essential, was navigability. In addition to being a space to rest, the square is a space of transition, procession, and movement. The project delimits and directs flows of visitors, guiding, redirecting and allowing them to gather.


Tamulté is a small community in Tabasco- a coastal state, rich in traditions, culture, and nature. It is one of the localities with the largest indigenous population in the state, specifically, members of the Chontal culture.
Despite being one of the most urbanized indigenous settlements in the country, this town is still a very inward-looking locality; it is a community that values it’s strong roots and ontology marked by its indigenous origin. Through the year this spirit is reflected in art and festivities, all of them present and significant to the urban environment.
The site where the civic center of Tamulté is located is at a key point for the community in front of the most representative ceremonial building in town (in the form of the parish of San Francisco de Asis). The project acts as an extension of the atrium, as well as of the activities and traditions generated and hosted, for centuries, in this place.
The place is a natural meeting area for the community's inhabitants as has been for many years. Previously in this place, there was an open square, fragmented and difficult to read, which divided the civic, sports and cultural programs. In a community like Tamulté, not only did these activities have to be preserved, but they had to be articulated and allowed to happen together and in harmony.


Tamulté is a town of strong traditions, which in addition to being celebrated in places specific to the ritual, are manifested in many ways through the time and space of the town. Rituals that have existed for hundreds of years, such as traditional dances and festivals, now take place in the civic center. On special dates, such as the celebration dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi (October), the plaza is filled with Tamulté residents, as well as visitors from different municipalities and even from other states. The plaza overflows with dancers, spectators and churchgoers to enjoy tradition and collectivity. The articulation of these spaces, gives the center a renewed collective character, both in everyday life and in celebrations.
During other times of the year, the square becomes a quieter space, perfect for civic gatherings, family outings and daily coexistence. It acts as public space with the possibility of hosting occupations of different densities; the disposition and the variation of the arches create the different and needed atmospheres and scales. The intervention aims to guide the flows of different activities and suggest new modes of organization, simultaneity and harmony for the multiple activities that take place in the plaza.
Tamulté civic center is just one part of a series of three interventions in the public space of the state of Tabasco. Each one responds to the particularity of the site in which they were placed, while at the same time seeking to unify gestures that reinforce the local identity of the state and its communities.

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