Charles Azar
Director General
Alto Desempeño
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View from the Top

Transforming Mexico's Design Paradigm

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 10:45

Q: What is behind the rise of multipurpose building sites in Mexico and how are they evolving?

A: In Mexico City there is a serious land deficit. As a result, prices are skyrocketing and it has become almost imperative to build multipurpose developments. We strive to optimize the use of buildings by incorporating new techniques, knowledge and building methods. It is essential that the architect is in constant contact with designers, builders and owners, as well as having a profound knowledge of the city’s landscape and how it will change. Structural designers should participate throughout the entire project and contribute to the optimization of the materials and space, which is unusual in Mexico, as architects more commonly work closely with developers instead of structural engineers. The buildings we design match the country’s latest trends such as creating open spaces. Mexicans have been accustomed to visiting enclosed shopping malls but now people want to walk in the open air and among greenery.

Q: How is technology changing the industry and what methods are being employed in Mexico?

A: Mexico’s perspective is changing and the introduction of technologies such as Revit and Building Information Modeling (BIM) are making companies realize that costs are not as important as having a quality end result. Mexico is leaning toward the use of more sustainable building techniques and materials. Other countries, such as Korea and Taiwan, have developed quickly because they invested in technology and education years ago but Mexico is 20-30 years behind and must catch up by innovating in the market. The most predominant materials used in the industry are high-resistant concrete and steel, which are easy to adapt and mold.

Q: What are the benefits of using BIM when entering the bidding for an infrastructure project?

A: BIM will demonstrate both external and internal factors that will affect the construction and helps optimize project coordination among developers, builders and designers. Once that is done, the costs and time can be calculated for the different stages of the project. This method consists of five dimensions that make it easier to manage the project and it can also help predict how the building will react to various factors after completion, while also creating more efficient and cost-effective construction processes. Developers hire structural engineers to build BIM models but the time required to complete these models is extensive. BIM also allows integration of reforms and regulations from specific countries into the computer models. The software can provide users with the latest updates in a country’s energy regulations and norms and from there adapt it to the project.

Q: What are Alto Desempeño’s goals when it comes to designing Mexico’s future infrastructure?

A: We need to spread prosperity across the country, especially to the southeast region. Southern states are extremely rich in natural resources but they are not fully developed. We want to be more involved in projects like Vientos del Sur in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The main goal of this project is to build international cargo ports to attract more investment and encourage the economic development of these deprived regions. Apart from the ports, new roads and highways would be necessary throughout these regions to transport the cargo within the country. These types of projects would also force the creation of new infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads and bridges. These regions could take advantage of the new Energy Reforms to create windfarms. The commitment of the government is one of the most important catalysts for the development of Mexico’s future infrastructure. Mexico is accustomed to believing that the most important regions in the country are Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey, when in reality there are many more cities that are filled with potential and are just waiting for the opportunity to flourish.