San José Station: New Hub for Cultural and Economic Activity


Architects: FRPO
Location: Toluca, Mexico
Area: 6.300 m2
Year: 2020
Photography: LGM Studio

The complex is located at the northern end of Avenida Juárez, which links the historic district with the university area. This new construction arises as an opportunity to concentrate the dispersed activity around this area and to create a new hub for cultural and economic activity, both at the local and metropolitan level.

The facility will act as a social condenser and revitalize the center of one of the cities in the most populated region of the country. The design draws from the conditions (high building density) and the possibilities offered by the site (a privileged location and a dialogue with heritage), as well as from the multiple and apparently incompatible programmatic requirements. Hence, the solution consists of organizing a flexible structure that allows the repetition and superposition of plans.

This strategy multiplies the street level surface to host multiple activities: parking, offices, co-working spaces, cultural spaces, commercial areas, etc. All of them are topped by a public roof garden that offers views of the area’s historic buildings and the imposing Nevado de Toluca volcano.

The intervention results in an exposed concrete superstructure with a bold geometry that is related to the urban environment, rising and providing views of the surroundings, both nearby and far away. The basic structural framework is arranged as a series of pillars that support thin beams, lending character and unifying the whole. Continuous slabs are folded over the beams to create the parking area. Openings in the slabs generate diagonal relationships and vertical spaces that enrich the rest of the programs. This structure is then covered with a delicate metal envelope that wraps around the resulting volume, leaving gaps facing the most impressive views: the Cathedral, the Cosmovitral – botanical garden – and the mountains to the southwest.