In the middle of a region at risk of earthquakes the characteristic façade of Torre Reforma in Mexico City has more than just aesthetic purposes. Technical know-how and artistic aspirations contributed in equal measure to the unique shape of it. The two massive outer walls of exposed concrete and the third vitreous side not only create a triangular footprint in the shape of an open book, but also provide a maximum of earthquake-resistance.
The concrete walls reach 60 metres into the ground as a solid fundament. They were poured little by little during the construction process: 70 centimetre per day. The seams between the individual layers also serve as predetermined breaking points in the event of an earthquake, offering the forces at work a point of attack that does not affect the building’s static equilibrium. Moreover, the building can move with the forces since the massive walls incorporate large openings as ‘crumple zones’. In addition, the steel braces, which carry the floors, merge into flexible hinges in front of the glass façade. During the severe earthquake of September 2017 this concept has already proved to be highly effective. The only effect was a handful of fine, harmless cracks in the concrete seams.
The entire width of the building’s glass side opens onto the Bosque de Chapultepec city park. Aluminium sun shades allow natural lighting without heat gain in the strong Mexican sun. This façade also highlights the building’s organisation in clusters of four floors each. The elaborate structural system allows the floors to be completely column-free.
In order to create additional usable space, the storeys break free from the narrow corset of the triangle at the glass façade. To the front, the seemingly smooth façade forms a nearly imperceptible fourth corner. This angle projects further and further outward as the building rises to increase the surface area of the most attractive, uppermost storeys.
On ground floor level, Torre Reforma integrates the adjacent historical villa by enclosing the public foyer together with it. In the middle of the building, easily accessible to all users, there are the terrace, the auditorium and the conference rooms.
Beginning at a height of 200 metres, one of the two concrete walls bends strikingly inward. This feature is a response to a building regulation: the skyscrapers on Paseo de la Reforma may be no more than twice as high as the width of the street. If a building exceeds this height, the upper part has to be recessed or tapered. Due to architect L. Benjamín Romano’s creative handling of this regulation, the building, depending on the viewer’s perspective, changes not only its materiality but also its sculptural form.
LEED Platinum Certification Committment to being carbon-neutral by 2030. Rain and waste water are 100 % reused for the air-conditioning cooling towers with zero drainage to the city’s sewage system. Naturally ventilated patios and horizontal aluminium shades protect the glass façade. A robotic parking system places 480 cars free of toxic fumes. Thanks to a floor height of three metres the garage can be transformed into office space should traffic be redirected. Each cluster’s MEP is monitored separately to optimize the energy efficiency. 80,000 trees were newly planted citywide as stipulated by building permit.