GIA completes new civic offices for the Mexican state of Chiapas
Chiapas is Mexico’s southernmost state. Despite its exceptional cultural and natural resources, it has one of the country’s lowest incomes. In 2010, the state government launched a design-build competition for a 20-storey-high building that was to house its offices and contribute to changing the state’s image to one of progress and development.
The challenge was to design a building on a tight budget that would convey an image of modernity while paying tribute to the state's cultural heritage. The contemporary language of its design abstracts numerous elements of Mayan culture into the architecture. A 100-m-high Mayan arch provides access to the building, while the colourful façade is reminiscent of the textiles manufactured by Chiapanecos. Mayan hieroglyphics are carved into the low-e glass façades at the sides, improving its performance and providing texture to its surface. The building’s oval shape mirrors the symbol for zero that was discovered by the Mayans centuries ago.
All of these elements anchor the building in a cultural context that values the wealth of its historical legacy while strengthening Chiapas’ potential in the global market. All offices are laid out in an interlocking pattern around the oval perimeter of the tower, facilitating the rearrangement of private offices in this highly hierarchical environment. The softly-curved contour permits a long array of offices and a high density of occupancy. It also provides a more intimate work environment by curtaining the open office space. Torre Chiapas stands tall as a reminder of the State´s cultural wealth and historical heritage, and as a symbol of better things to come.