The design of a small cultural center for the Morelia Educational Center in Mexico was chosen as one of the winners in the 7th Annual A+ Architizer Awards for its particular use of bricks and its effects in the space.
Project Name: Centro Cultural Morelos
Architect Name: Iván Marín + Doho Constructivo
The studio Ivan Marin Arquitectura + Doho Constructivo developed the project of the cultural center in the school’s former library, with the idea of improving the general performance of both students and teachers.
To design the space, the final users (the schoolchildren) were asked: How did they imagine the cultural center? What elements would they like to include in order to enjoy it more? As a result, the project is made up of a reading area and a library, a multi-purpose room for the practice of yoga and Dalcroze, and two visual arts rooms, where luminosity was enhanced by using white as the only color to improve upon the colorful palette of the books.
Also, considering that the the surroundings are limited by all the existing structures and walkways, natural light became a priority for this project, making use of resources such as lattice windows as solar panels, open spaces and blind walls as protection, as well as integrating inner and outer areas, such as the central patio in the main entrance hall and the reading platform.
Upon analyzing the buildings already on site and the materials with which they had been made, the studio decided to use clay bricks, a very common local material, as the only housing material. The space was built recycling two metal containers, the foundations, floors and perimeter walls. The roof, which was found to be in an advanced state of decay, was completely taken apart and re-engineered from scratch.
The simplicity of its volume and the scarce use of materials make it possible for this building to humbly adapt to it surroundings, at the same time turning it into the cornerstone for the future educational complex, which will make use of the architecture as a fundamental element of its educational purposes.
About the A + Architizer Awards
Based in New York, the A+ Architizer Awards are the largest award program in the world to celebrate the year’s best architecture and building products. Their mission is to recognize the world’s best architectural creations and their positive impact on daily life.
In their seventh edition, the A+ Awards received over 5000 entries from over 100 countries, with special emphasis on innovation, materials and products. Each of the 115 categories has one winner selected by the jury and another one selected by popular choice, which received over 400,000 votes from the public.
Iván Marín Arquitectura and Doho Constructivo
He graduated from the School of Architecture of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in 1997, and that same year began his professional career, working on architectural projects and seeing them built. He developed a design methodology based on compositional axes that gives way to the creation of his projects.
2005, Ivan Marín founded Doho Constructivo with architect Yuri Reyes. For over 15 years, the company has worked on architectural projects ranging from housing complexes (such as “Q Baja” at El Sargento Beach in Baja California Sur), to urban projects (like the “Selva Maya Tulum” in Francisco Uh May, Quintana Roo) and commercial hotels (such as “Peepem”, a complex of 18 boutique hotels in Tulum, Quintana Roo), among others.
2010, he and Pablo Idalzoaga founded the Mexican-Chilean firm “Zoológika Biohábitats”, with which they were in residence at the San Diego and Barcelona zoos, as well as Africam Safari, in Mexico. As a member of AZCARM (Mexican Association of Zoos, Breeding Grounds and Aquariums), the firm has developed projects for several zoos, as well as the Wildlife Research Center in San Cayetano, State of Mexico, for SEMARNAT (Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources). In 2018 it was a finalist in the contest to remodel the Barcelona Zoo.
Today, he owns the architectural design studio IVÁN MARÍN ARQUITECTURA®, with offices in Morelia, Mexico City and Los Angeles. Among other projects, he is working on the Master Plan for the Morelia Convention Center (CECONEXPO), which is currently under construction, the Mexican History Active Museum (MUSEA), the Gastronomical House of Mexico, The Hospice of The Angels (for the foundation in Los Angeles), and a government administrative unit.
He received the Popular Choice Award in the 7th Annual A+ Architizer Awards for the library project for the Morelia Educational Center, in the Architecture +Brick category.