2017 AIA Awards – Regional & Urban Design
Poised to showcase Latin American universities as powerful hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship, Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education has adopted a new master plan that will reshape the institution’s relationship with its urban setting.
When it was originally designed in 1945, the campus’ framework was heralded as being both rational and visionary, with careful attention paid to solar orientation and circulation. And while many of the plan’s main elements still exist today, many of the school’s more recent buildings undermined the sustainable integrity of the original vision. While vibrant, the campus had disengaged with the surrounding context that faces issues of neglect, disinvestment, and an obsolete stadium surrounded by acres of surface parking. Despite the global trend of allied industries developing around educational institutions, the school had attracted little investment.
The most significant challenge facing the design team was to recapture the spirit of the original plan while adjusting it to reflect new directions in pedagogy. Every detail of the plan focuses on three key elements—transparency, connectivity, and engagement—and sets the stage for the institution’s evolving roles in the city, country, and beyond.
Centered on an open-space spine that cuts through the core of the original campus, the new flow helps blur the lines between the campus and district while attracting new mixed-use development and neighborhoods. On both ends of the campus, two learning nodes transform underused spaces into hubs for collaboration, while sandwiched between them is the university’s social and academic crossroads formed by a student and faculty commons and library.
Replacing the aging and oversized stadium is a series of flexible playing fields that create a parklike connection and draw the community to the university’s public amenities and academic core. To provide an additional civic benefit, a smaller, more suitable stadium is proposed for the site.
By providing an integrated framework that balances investment in the campus and the neighborhood, this project will aid the university in making a new kind of contribution to city and country while reframing the conversation about higher education in the Mexico.