Cineteca Nacional

Photo © Paul Rivera Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

Cineteca Nacional expands and renovates an existing film complex, incorporating additional archive space and four more screening rooms while reclaiming part of the site as a public space.

Photo © Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

Location
Mexico City
Client
National Council for Culture and the Arts of Mexico
Year
2012
Status
Areas of Exploration
Construction Area
49,000 square meters (527,432 square feet)
Partners
Rojkind Arquitectos (Michel Rojkind and Gerardo Salinas)

Photo © Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

Located in the southern quadrant of Mexico City, the National Film Archive and Film Institute of Mexico is home to the most important film heritage of Latin America. Its campus occupied an underutilized site of considerable dimensions within the strangled town of Xoco. This historic town, once surrounded by agricultural land, now sits deep within the urban sprawl and faces extinction due to economic and political pressures from developers and municipal authorities which covet its privileged location.

Site plan © Rojkind Arquitectos

Photo © Rojkind Arquitectos

The existing complex dates from 1982, when a fire destroyed part of the campus and most of its archive. It was a “temporary” facility never well suited for its purpose. Additionally, thousands of people cross the grounds daily as they walk to and from one of the city’s nearby metro station, Metro Coyoacan Station.

Facing total renewal, Cineteca’s original project brief included the expansion and renovation of the existing complex, incorporating additional archival space and four more screening rooms. Additionally, and in response to the immediate urban condition, restorative work needed to be done to reclaim part of the site as a public space. The space needed to relieve the dense surroundings of Xoco, filled with new development, and accommodate the constant flow of pedestrians as well as casual visitors.

Photo © Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

Diagram areas © Rojkind Arquitectos

First, surface parking was consolidated into a six-story structure freeing 40% of the site. Then, the pedestrian friendly “back entrance,” located across the street from the historic town’s cemetery, was reactivated because 70% of Cineteca visitors use public transportation and arrive by foot. The reclaimed space now houses the new program organized along two axes, one perpendicular to the Real Mayorazgo Street becoming the main pedestrian entrance, and the other axis perpendicular to México-Coyoacán Avenue for both car and pedestrian access.

Ground floor plan © Rojkind Arquitectos

Site section © Rojkind Arquitectos

Site section © Rojkind Arquitectos

Photo © Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

The intersection of the axis became a new 80 m. x 40 m. public plaza sheltered from the weather by a hovering canopy connecting the existing complex with the new screening rooms. Clad in composite aluminum panels, with triangular perforations varying in size, the roof structure wraps around the new screening rooms becoming their façade. The sheltered space functions as the foyer for the old and new screening rooms and can accommodate additional program such as concerts, theater, exhibitions, etc.

“We didn’t want it to feel like you’re in the lobby of a commercial cinema. We wanted it to feel more like a university campus, with everything floating in a park.” Michel Rojkind

Photo © Paul Rivera Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

Roof diagram © Rojkind Arquitectos

Cross section © Rojkind Arquitectos

Roof detail © Rojkind Arquitectos

Photo © Paul Rivera Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

An outdoor amphitheater, extensive landscaping, and new retail spaces were added to the original program expanding the possibilities for social and cultural interactions, and giving the complex a university campus feel.

The new screening rooms seat 180 people each and the existing screening rooms were updated with current technology. Overall the complex can now seat nearly 2,500 visitors in its indoor theaters. The outdoor amphitheater has a 750-person capacity. Two new film vaults were also added to the site, increasing Cineteca’s archive capacity by 50,000 reels of film. Parking capacity was also increased by 25% to a total of over 500 cars.

Photo © Paul Rivera Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

Photo © Paul Rivera Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

The thousands of people that use the grounds everyday now find welcoming unrestricted public space: commuters still walk back and forth across the campus in the morning and evening; medical staff from a nearby hospital stop by to eat their lunches at noon; students hang out at the park in the afternoon; and moviegoers attend free outdoor events in the evening. The added amenities have turned the campus into a favorite gathering space not only for moviegoers but also for Xoco residents and workers who have appropriated the space as if it were their own.

Photo © Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

Photo © Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

Photo © Mauricio Diaz Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos

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