An arresting stack of concrete forms, the Foro Boca concert hall in Boca del Río, Mexico, emerges from the riprap of the adjacent breakwater to rise solemnly from its prominent site, where the Jamapa River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. Designed by Mexico City’s Rojkind Arquitectos, the building not only cuts a dramatic figure, but, in its role as a community catalyst, it also aims to right the course of the area’s checkered history.
Boca del Río and the adjoining historic port of Veracruz have long been commercially significant and, recently, have also become a strategic zone for organized crime. In an effort to foster social cohesion and keep youths away from illegal activities, local authorities have devised numerous innovative initiatives, including starting a philharmonic orchestra with two main objectives: to provide high-quality concerts and offer music programs for children.
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As this unusual strategy gained success, the need for a permanent facility became apparent. In 2014, Rojkind Arquitectos won the commission for this federally funded project in an invited competition. Foro Boca was conceived as a key element in a master plan intended to enhance urban and pedestrian life through cultural and commercial development as well as infrastructural improvements, such as remediation of the coastal boulevard, along which the concert hall now sits. Appropriating the language of the jetty’s crude concrete blocks, principal Michel Rojkind conceived the building as a cluster of cubelike volumes to break down its 58,000-square-foot mass. Inside, he packed in a 966-seat performance hall surrounded by back-of-house functions, as well as rehearsal rooms and other spaces that can host additional cultural programs.
The monumentality of the exterior carries into the interiors, expressed as soaring voids. Visitors enter the building beneath a cantilevered corner block, which hovers above the new public plaza. Inside, the main lobby is daylit from skylights above and animated by suspended bridges and stairs that crisscross the space and flow to the auditorium’s different access points. The team limited the palette to concrete, granite, and wood. “We wanted the material to express its construction logic inside and out,” says Rojkind. “Understanding the local Mexican craft, we played with a texture that would capture the light and shadow of the changing skies of Boca del Río,” he says of the rhythmic bands of board-formed concrete.
Foro Boca has fast become an urban landmark that spurs activity on its public plazas, where children play and families come to promenade. And everyone can enjoy the concerts that take place behind its walls, as video of the live performances is projected outside, across the building’s imposing planes.
Michel Rojkind (Principal)
Colima 159 Roma Norte, Cuauhtemoc 06700
Mexico City, Mexico
+52 55 52 80 83 96
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Agustín Pereyra (Project Manager) Arturo Ortíz, Adrián Aguilar, Sandra Carvajal, Fernanda Casar, Salvador Cortéz, Diego Díaz Lezama,Paulina Elizalde, Rubén García, Daniel Gaytán, Paulina Goycoolea, Jorge González R., Alfredo Hernández , Laura Hernández, Pablo Herrera, Julieta Inclán, Carsten Lemme Andrea León, Félix Mendoza, Gerardo Salinas, Julio Serralde, Alfonso Paz, Cynthia Ponce, Víctor Velázquez, Ditter Vergara, Beatriz Zavala.
Architect of record:
Paola ruiz de Chavez
Structural Engineer: EMRSA: Enrique Martínez, Sergio Pérez, Martín S. López, Elsa Serrano, Miguel Ángel Allende, José Mejía, Kevin Cruz, José Martínez Vargas
MEP: Gralte S.C.: Germán Muñoz, Ismael Hernández, Mario Navarro, Jorge Romero and Daniel Velázquez
Ingeniería y Desarrollo Arquitectónico S.A. de C.V.: Ricardo del Río Santiestéban
Jaime Navarro, Paul Rivera, Ricardo del Rio