This project is part of a program planned for the municipality of Tultepec, State of Mexico. A developing entity recognized for its work with the manufacture and detonation of pyrotechnic fireworks, which for many years has been the focus of economic activity at a national and international level. After a thorough sector study by the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU), necessities arose within the framework of the Urban Improvement Programs (PMU) of this entity. Based on this approach, the Ministry, together with the department of urban planners, intended to equip areas of interest in this locality, in order to achieve urban improvement and economic recovery. As part of the request for post-pandemic economic recovery, it was stated that throughout the construction of the projects, local labor and manual work would be encouraged in order to generate sources of employment.
This Urban Improvement Program has a socio-cultural and educational approach; therefore, the portfolio of possible projects included a museum destined to pay tribute to the main activity of this town, the International Pyrotechnics Fair held every year from March 8 to 14.
In the pursuit of exalting the local identity the museum implemented a range of diverse spaces to appreciate the pyrotechnics and related festivities. In our culture, we can find several spaces of this nature from which we were able to extract their essence and standardize some of their characteristics, such is the case of an amphitheater. In our architectural response, the central esplanade of the museum resembles a bullring, an analogy that faces the fact that one of the most representative shows of the fair includes the detonation of "pyrotechnic bulls". The nature of this celebration stands out for being celebrated and held in open air reinforcing the concept that pyrotechnics produce omnidirectional voids. The interior space gives a sensation of openness in the route by having the interior and exterior exhibition areas attached to each other, as well as having connecting views between the two.
The project takes into consideration that the museum could be the site of pyrotechnics outside visiting hours as well, which is why the building was made habitable at all hours by creating a square open to the public, thus providing a habitable area for visitors throughout the day. We designed an open space where you can observe the pyrotechnics by having a public square that does not depend on a schedule to be passable, allowing access at any time. To do this we created an esplanade that rises from the street level where, visitors can appreciate the detonation of pyrotechnics while at the same time internalizing the essence of the project, the void.
The tectonics designed for this project is based solely on slabs and walls. The planes and interstices warn us that something will happen in that space, revealing the strength of the building through the gaps. Sonorously, the reverberation allows us to enjoy an exhibition that coincides sonically with the resonance generated by the pyrotechnics.
We intended to create a space where people could honor San Juan de Dios, the patron saint of pyrotechnic craftsmen, to whom pyrotechnics are presented before being detonated. By celebrating fire in the empty spaces we seek to generate the analogy of a volcano. The panels suggest the abstraction of a series of rockets surrounding the void. The building's periphery is discontinuous in order to give the sensation that it is not a constructed element, directing the focus on the elevated plain instead. In the interstice between the building and its surroundings gardens function as a walkway and a break from the museography. The museum has a cafeteria that, together with the public square, seeks to generate a meeting point for the community.
We worked with materials that benefit the project and save time by choosing low-maintenance materials, such as red brick, pigmented concrete, and oxidized steel. We decided on the tone of the pigmentation taking into account the theme of the place, which, being linked to the earth, maintains the identity of the place.
Lead architect: Miguel Montor
Design team: Pilar Rico, Daniela Meneses, Andrea Lomelí.
Instalations: Uriel García