Campus Centro Inaugurates New LEED-Platinum Certified Campus in Mexico City
Mexico City has undergone a renaissance of environmentalism in recent years– beginning with an unprecedented $150 million investment in energy-efficient transport around the city and now thriving with a host of urban agriculture projects that demonstrate the emergence and creativity of Mexico’s biggest metropolis. The latest addition to this roster of increasingly-impressive green credentials comes in the form of a green-roof bearing, LEED-Platinum certified campus at CENTRO, an institution of higher learning focused on design, communication, film, and digital media that is one of the most important educational institutions of its kind.
In September 2015, CENTRO inaugurated a new LEED-certified campus on Avenida Constituyentes– a project helmed by TEN Arquitectos that now spans an area of 5,600 square meters, including 2,500 squares meters of green space. CENTRO’s main building features “a multifunctional 450-seat auditorium with state-of-the-art technology in acoustics and lighting, as well as a film production studio, and workshops for industrial design, textiles, jewelry, and ceramics, each equipped with the highest engineering and technology”. The building also hosts a four-story media library with a renowned archive of books, magazines, digital files, and film– which would be impressive if the building weren’t also LEED Platinum certified– one of the highest standards in sustainable building that can be credentialed in the modern era.
LEED Certification, for those new the genre of sustainable building and design, is a standard put forth by the U.S. Green Building Council which designates that structures are resource efficient– using less water, energy, and enhanced sustainable materials in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate overall environmental impact. There are several “levels” of LEED certification, which is sort of akin to medal rankings in the Olympics: a Silver-Certified building is good, but a Gold-Certified building is even better. Platinum Certification– and this is where the Olympic comparison yields– is best of all, as it is the highest certification available.
Designed by renowned architect Enrique Norten of the aforemented TEN Arquitectos, the new campus was built according to the standards of LEED Platinum certification and is poised to become the most complete and innovative installation in the realm of creative education– largely due to its impressive green roof, extensive solar paneling, and natural ventilation. The movement towards sustainable development in Mexico City is nigh, and a new art installation by Dutch-born, Mexican-based artist Jan Hendrix, now at the center of campus, seems to reflect on this contemporary spirit.
Since its founding in 2004, CENTRO has become benchmark in the field of creative education under the direction of Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin and Abraham Franklin. Due to its growing success during the past decade, CENTRO sought to expand with more specialized installations capable of simultaneously accommodating its growing student body while sending a message about the future of green architecture and resource functionality in urban environments. At once dynamic and inclusive, the new center underscores CENTRO’s mission to promote “the professionalisation of creativity” while “redefining creativity’s scope” in an environment capable of both surprising and nurturing its student body through energy-efficient means.
CENTRO students have been recognized at Critics’ Week of the Venice Biennale and Milan’s Grant Domus Academy, while individuals have received honors as global as the British Design and Art Direction Student Award, the Vitra Prize in Kortrijk, and the Premio Quorum prize in Mexico. Norten, speaking to Metropolis Magazine, notes that CENTRO’s emphasis on excellence serves as a metaphor for the pioneering work that is now canonized in its movement toward sustainable building– an idea that feels organic and appropriate for the institution. “We wanted [an] area to have people sitting there during the day, people moving through it, people studying there,” he told the magazine. “Everything sort of happens there very naturally. It’s a way to connect.”
In addition to the green roof and copious green space around campus, the central buildings have open-air walkways and staircases throughout– an idea that was meant to emphasize the students’ fluid relationship with nature. There are no internal hallways on site– a concept that perpetuates the idea of constant interaction with the environment. “We have fantastic weather, so people can just be outside,” said Norten of the Mexico City campus. “The whole idea is [about] people coming out and being together in a spontaneous manner.”