Contemporary art gallery in Mexico City

Pablo Goldin Marcovich

At the heart of an architectural project lies a cause, an abstract reason to exist that can adapt to different circumstances. The greatest challenge lies in the moment when this cause must be communicated to all parties involved:

How to translate that message into the necessary force to go from a PDF file into an action? How do we reconcile everyday instability with the static promise of a future construction? How to reconcile new worlds with the ones that already exist?

The models that make up the piece "VIVA PLAZA MERCED 2000 FOREVER" represent possible new programs to activate the underutilized spaces of the Plaza Merced 2000 commercial facility and improve its social, environmental, and spatial conditions. Like embryos developing in the womb, the proposals were made within the building through participation and dialogue with different communities of tenants and users. Small-scale simulations that contrast the empty and dark spaces with the visions embodied in cardboard, metal, and plastic models.

However, speculating and planning is not enough. Flags become a call to action, a slogan that allows a plurality of meanings while maintaining clear principles. A sign that can articulate the global phenomenon of underutilized shopping centers with this particular case.

Built in the early 1990s with a project by Enrique Garcia Formentí in the site of the former "Hilos Cadena" factory, Plaza Merced 2000 was developed as part of the "immediate program for the improvement of popular commerce". Few years later, the building was reshaped into a shopping center managed by FONDECO. The absence of natural lighting, the opacity of the facade and impractical circulations responded to suburban ideals disconnected from the commercial reality in the La Merced area resulting in decay and abandonment of certain programs such as the cinema but also allowing different uses than planned.

Similar stories can be traced throughout the city in the different plazas belonging to FONDECO and other shopping centers whose babelic destiny is forged in their condominium regimes.

The illusion of new worlds is a human reflection in pursuit of transformation and change, even if their location in space is not yet defined.

In search of the promised land where past and contemporary urban utopias can germinate, I propose underutilized shopping centers as territories for experimentation to formulate new uses, habits, and processes that contribute to these new worlds. An effort to redeem the history of these typologies and conceive new programs, spaces, and organizations together with their inhabitants, that positively permeate cities.

The models of the project "VIVA PLAZA MERCED 2000 POR SIEMPRE" were made with support of FONCA jóvenes creadores 2020-2021 and the participation and help of the kids from the daycare managed by teacher Amanda Vilchis López, boxing coach Israel Bustos, blacksmith Moises Aguilar Ramirez and Gerardo Aguilar Alcantara, Jesus Martinez from the restaurant La Tortuga, lawyer Ivonne Colocia and architect Sharon Vega. The bases were manufactured on site with the help of blacksmiths Moises Aguilar Ramirez and the brothers Alberto, Gerardo, and Mario Aguilar Alcantara.