The Polanco shopping centre, built in 1970, is a symbol of avant-garde architecture with a strong geometry and generous surrounding public spaces. Arte Charpentier was selected by the Liverpool Group, a large department store chain in Mexico, to undertake its refurbishment. Through a complex exchange between tradition and modernity, the agency has created a neighbourhood best suited to pedestrians, and renewed the image and organisation of the mall.
The floor space of the original three-sided building has been increased by the addition of a projecting glazed volume at each corner, incorporating an extension of the retail space and lifts. These additions are a prominent feature of the façade, and improve the commercial viability of the building.
Inside, a central atrium connects the different levels of shops, and allows natural light to penetrate to the heart of the interior. This layout, organised around a central void, is characteristic of new approaches to the design of shopping centres, providing a place to dwell, to meet or rest and watch the activity going on within.
A new covered pedestrian route, called the ‘delta’, has been created between Rue Torcuato Tasso and Rue Mariano Escobedo, following the line of the façade and leading to the car park. Customers walk through a ‘landscape’ created with lush vegetation between water pools and columns covered with tropical plants evoking a lakeside tree-covered plain. From Rue Torcuato Tasso onwards, the pedestrian route becomes an open-air pedestrian axis leading to a new square on the avenue Mariano Escobedo.
The impression of a town neighbourhood is reinforced by a complementary combination of mixed uses, essential to the creation of an urban atmosphere. The cohabitation of shops, businesses and apartments creates a new piece of urban fabric as an extension of the city where pedestrians have priority.
– Client: Groupe Liverpool
– Architect and team representative: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Partners: Pedro Camarena, DVVD
– Country: Mexico
– City: Mexico
– Competition: 2007
– Programme: Rehabilitation of a shopping centre
– Surface area: 68000m²