by Jincy IypeNov 15, 2019
Within an agrarian landscape convene two large brick pyramidal volumes that form Módulo de Riego (Spanish for ‘irrigation module’) conceived by 3ME Arquitectura, built to promote the agricultural faculty and in turn, the economy of the region. A celebration and a reference to the Mexican countryside, the complex hosts the new headquarters of the Association of Agricultural Producers of the Irrigation Module, of the region of Salvatierra, Guanajuato in central Mexico, its design informed by both its natural surroundings and the region's vernacular architecture.
“The project reflects the importance of agricultural activity and the value of the organisation it houses. For this reason, it was essential to understand both through the lens of historical memory, recognising the scale at which these activities have been developed and carried out, and their importance in the region at a cultural level,” shares the young Mexican studio led by co-founders Enrico Hernández Cervantes and Augusto Valentino Hernández Cervantes.
“The organisation seeks to provide certainty to crop production by generating jobs and agricultural products, strengthening interest in the land, and reaffirming identity in a conscious attempt to curb migration. We seek to imbue it with character by identifying it with the lives and architectural schemes of its users, at various levels: cultural, economic, organisational, ecological and tectonic,” Enrico and Augusto explain further.
3ME Arquitectura analysed the strains of the site’s agricultural and built vernacular context – the forms of haciendas and regional convents were referenced for the form, colour, scale, planning and aesthetic, to instil a cultural significance, to celebrate and form connections between humankind, the built and nature.
The main access of the contextual design is framed by the two towering pyramidal volumes, one slightly spun around to sit at an angle to the other, reminiscent of old grain silos that pepper the surrounding terrain, while its earthy colour palette is an ode to the region's farmlands. Módulo de Riego is thus given “a sense of agricultural scale and meaning”, the design team notes.
“These forms, as poet Antonio Machado describes - do not represent, but present - structures out of the territory’s memory. They also refer to shapes found in the Jesuit chimneys of Mineral de Pozos in Guanajuato, the drawings of Sigurd Lewererentz for the Malmo Crematorium, and the pyramidal structures of the Museo Casa das Historias de Souto de Moura. It is only through the experience of space that we rediscover the value of the utilitarian and vernacular buildings characteristic of this territory,” the founders share.
The pyramidal forms rest in a complex that houses a large plaza and patio, which create a walkway leading to the other areas. The pyramids inside are articulated as tall, white geometric halls that have flexible spaces to host multifunctional classrooms for the agricultural producers as well as exhibitions. The rest of the design program includes a small auditorium, offices, training room, display for products, parking, reception, and bathrooms.
These spaces reside under ceilings of varying heights, distributed around the patio and culminating at a large reflective pool. Stones recovered from surrounding fields, traditional terracotta red bricks and rough exposed concrete were used as materials of construction, while the bricks lining the interiors were dressed in plaster, the floors in ceramic.
According to 3ME Arquitectura, the internal patio is the heart of the complex, quietly strengthening the clear and orderly geometry of the space. “Like traditional Haciendas, you can access the different volumes from this patio, and at the same time, they are interconnected from the inside. The experience of wandering around the complex is continuous, enhanced with various changes of heights, the influx and diffraction of light inside the spaces and the general atmosphere, leading to a humble and unique experience,” says the team.
Name: Módulo de Riego
Location: Salvatierra, Guanajuato, México
Area: 2,070 sqm (plot), 723.5 sqm (construction)
Year of completion: 2019
Architect: 3ME Arquitectura
Design team: Valentino Hernández Cervantes, Enrico Hernández Cervantes
Contractor: Grupo 3 ME Construcciones S.A. de C.V.