PILARES: Centering Community

Leading architecture firms gather online to discuss their community center designs for Mexico City’s PILARES initiative.

October 12, 2022
6:00 p.m.

Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura | PILARES Presidentes de México, Mexico City, Mexico, 2022. Image credit: Sandra Pereznieto

Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.

The fall 2022 Current Work series examines projects and firms enacting new modes of architectural practice, collaboration, and community engagement. 

Mexico City’s PILARES (Puntos de Innovación, Libertad, Arte, Educación y Saberes, or Points of Innovation, Freedom, Art, Education, and Knowledge) projects are a series of over 250 (built and in-progress) public community centers. Located predominantly in low-income neighborhoods, these centers provide spaces for a wide range of free programs, including arts, sports, education, and professional development.

In 2020, the mayor’s office commissioned 25 notable design firms and partnerships to create architecturally ambitious PILARES centers. This Current Work program will feature nine of these projects as presented by the following firms:

  • a | 911
  • Fernanda Canales Arquitectura
  • Francisco Pardo Arquitecto
  • Palma
  • Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura
  • Taller Gabriela Carrillo
  • TEN Arquitectos
  • AGENdA
  • TO
  • WORKac
  • IUA Ignacio Urquiza Arquitectos

The presentations will be introduced by Carlos Zedillo Velasco. Zedillo Velasco, whose career has been dedicated to promoting collaborative design processes, served as the architectural coordinator of the PILARES initiative, working as a consultant to the Mexico City government. He previously directed the Research Center for Sustainable Development at Mexico’s National Housing Fund for Workers (often referred to by its acronym in Spanish, INFONAVIT). With his brother Rodrigo Zedillo Velasco, he founded Pienza Sostenible, a nonprofit organization that explores contemporary Mexican conditions in relation to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Zedillo Velasco holds an MArch and a bachelor’s degree in art and architecture, both from the Yale School of Architecture. He currently practices architecture and planning in Mexico City.

The presentations will be followed by a conversation and Q&A with Mexico City-born journalist and researcher Suleman Anaya. Anaya’s work—often dealing with historic and contemporary Mexican architecture and design—has appeared in T, Aperture, The Architectural Review, PIN-UP, Vanity Fair, and Apartamento. Anaya currently splits his time between Queens, New York, and Coyoacán, Mexico.

Projects to be discussed include:

PILARES Valentín Gómez Farías

Firm presenting the project:

a | 911
Location: Mexico City
Established: 2002
Founders: Jose Castillo, Saidee Springall

PILARES Flor de Azucena

Firm presenting the project:

Fernanda Canales Arquitectura
Location: Mexico City
Established: 2002
Founder: Fernanda Canales

PILARES Cuauhtémoc

Firms presenting the project:

Francisco Pardo Arquitecto
Location: Mexico City
Founder: Francisco Pardo

Location: New York City
Established: 2010
Founder: Laura González Fierro

PILARES Brigada Alfonso

Firms presenting the project:

Location: Mexico City and Sayulita, Mexico
Established: 2016
Founders: Ilse Cárdenas, Regina de Hoyos, Diego Escamilla, Juan Luis Rivera

Location: Mexico City
Established: 2006
Founders: Carlos Bedoya, Wonne Ickx, Victor Jaime, Abel Perles

Additional members of the design team:

Pienza Sostenible

PILARES Presidentes de México

Firm presenting the project:

Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura
Location: Mexico City
Established: 2009
Founder: Rozana Montiel

PILARES Tierra Unida

Firm presenting the project:

Taller Gabriela Carrillo
Location: Mexico City
Established: 2017
Founder: Gabriela Carrillo

Additional members of the design team:

Síntesis Arquitectura

PILARES Lomas de Plateros

Firm presenting the project:

TEN Arquitectos
Location: Mexico City, New York, and Miami
Established: 1986
Founder: Enrique Norten


Firms presenting the project:

Location: Mexico City
Established: 2010
Founders: Camilo Restrepo Ochoa, Juliana Gallego Martínez

Location: Mexico City
Established: 2015
Founders: Jose Amozurrutia, Carlos Facio

Additional members of the design team:

+UdeB Arquuitectos

PILARES Lomas de Becerra

Firms presenting the project:

Location: New York
Established: 2003
Founders: Amale Andraos, Dan Wood

IUA Ignacio Urquiza Arquitectos
Location: Mexico City
Established: 2019
Founder: Ignacio Urquiza Seoane


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

The event is co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union.