Tapachula Station

Colectivo C733  

Colectivo C733 – Gabriela Carrillo, Eric Valdez, Israel Espín and TO (Jose Amozurrutia and Carlos Facio) – was tasked to refurbish the early 20th-century train station of Tapachula, a city in the Soconusco region of the Mexican state of Chiapas. In October 2005, Hurricane Stan broke down the area’s railway system altogether, ruling out the prospect of reconstruction.

As part of the Program for Urban Improvement implemented by SEDATU (Secretariat for Agrarian, Territorial, and Urban Development), the project saved the abandoned station by repurposing it for cultural, sport, and other recreational activities. The design concept was based on repetition, drawing inspiration from the train tracks. Uncovering the structural elements and the original texture of the walls, the project encompassing a built area of 7,200 square meters presented a single stretch, with small side spaces for different community events doubling as a ‘visible foundation’ holding up the large roof. The structural strategy consisted of tension elements that enabled the huge stretch to be so slender, taking into account how it would hold up in earthquakes. The materials included bamboo – Tapachula being Mexico’s principal producer of it – beides steel and concrete for reinforcement.