From a architect's perspective, several problems impede the development of Mexico City, one of the world's largest cities with a population teeming around 21.2 million. A scarcity of new construction plots, height restrictions that limit new edifices to eight stories and laws that prohibit demolishing historic structures leaves little room for building up.
The solution: build down.
Up to the task is BNKR Aquitectura and their ambitious 'Earthscraper' project. The Mexico City urban architecture and research firm has proposed building an inverted pyramid underneath the Plaza de la Constitución, the heart of the Mexico City's historic district, commonly known as The Zócalo.
"The historic center of Mexico City is in desperate need for a pragmatic make-over," says BNKR's website.
Capped with a glass roof to filter natural light down to its lowest levels, the 2,542,650 square foot sub-structure would descend 65 stories below The Zócalo. Proposed for the first 10 stories is a museum filled with Aztec and Mayan artifacts, with the the next 10 stories offering retail and residential spaces. The remaining 35 stories are outlined for office space.
"The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in an historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition. It preserves the iconic presence of the city square and the existing hierarchy of the buildings that surround it," says BNKR.
BNKR Arquitectura's "Earthscaper" design was a 2010 finalist in the eVolo Magazine's Skyscraper Competition.
Photo: BNKR Aquitectura