Foster + Partners has been appointed to design the 71-hectare Campus Biometropolis masterplan in the south of Mexico City. Campus Biometropolis will be a centre of medical excellence, integrating care facilities alongside state-of-the-art teaching spaces, research institutions and laboratories. The creation of a vital new nature reserve to preserve Mexico City's indigenous plants and animal species is fundamental to the aims of this low-carbon, mixed-use development.
This wilderness area, together with enhanced landscaped zones, will account for half of the site, providing a landscaped setting for the buildings and safeguarding the future of the land through sensitive development. The campus will include offices, apartments, shops and amenities to create a sustainable, mixed-use community. The arrangement of buildings navigates a course around the Pedregal lava fields, a network of subterranean lava tube formations and caves, sections of which will be exposed to encourage scientific investigation.
The site is close to Mexico City's southern medical cluster and the National University. The scheme integrates hotel facilities for visitors to the hospital and conference centre, facilities for bio-tech industries, clinical studies and a number of specialist units, planned to target six key areas of medicine: cancer, cardiovascular, infectious diseases, pharmaceuticals, nutrition and geriatrics.
Responding to the urban grain of Mexico City, the masterplan integrates public piazzas, pedestrian streets and cooling courtyards. The buildings will be oriented to capture cooling winds from the north. Given Mexico City's water shortages, the campus is designed to maintain and augmenting the proportion of green space through which water can be absorbed naturally into the aquifer below. Rainwater will also be harvested from roofs, roads and available open space.
The transportation strategy is designed to encourage the use of public transport. Solar-powered electric vehicles will move people around the campus, walking distances are short and a bus connection to the nearby university station will fully utilise the available capacity on a quieter section of the metro line. While parking spaces will be incorporated, they will be located below a raised podium level to create a pedestrian environment and maximise the available space for the nature reserve at ground level.
Nigel Dancey, a senior partner and design director at Foster + Partners, said:
"Campus Biometropolis is our first masterplan in Mexico, building on our growing portfolio in Central and South America. It is the first of its kind - a unique opportunity to create a medical district of international importance. The masterplan will incorporate state-of-the-art facilities and buildings with a wide range of functions. The project will help safeguard the recharging of the aquifer supplying much of Mexico City and protect indigenous plant and animal species, as well as the important geological formations found on the site."