This project for a new Papalote Museo del Niño, a science museum for children, is located in Iztapalapa, Mexico City. It is an ambitious project both for the museum’s requirements and the characteristics of the area. Iztapalapa is the most populated area of Mexico City, with over 1.8 million people living and working there. It is almost entirely urbanized but many services, such as clean water and public spaces, have not been covered yet. In addition, it reports high crime levels and violence. For the above mentioned, the question was not only how to build a museum, but how to build a museum in this particular environment? In which ways can the project give back to its neighborhood? How can the area benefit, culturally, architectonically and socially, from having the museum built here? How to bring back green areas to a neighborhood that only fifty years ago had fields and canals and now is only street buildings and no public spaces? Our proposal, thus, focused on bringing life and nature back to Iztapalapa.
The museum is part of a larger urbanization plan that included a commercial complex and a transportation hub. The space designated for the museum was at the far west wing of the project. Our proposal contemplated connecting the museum to both the commercial area and the transportation hub, but also to the only park-strip of the area. The museum has two main spaces: the outer strip which is a continuous ramp that takes you up and down the four-story building, all the way up into the roof garden which offers a spectacular view; and the inner part of the construction composed of a series of large open spaces that would house workshops and temporary exhibits.