Richard Meier has unveiled his plans for Reforma Towers, a new mixed-use development in Mexico City. The project comprises a pair of towers unified by a base: One contains 40 stories of offices, retail, restaurants, and parking; the other is a 27-story hotel. The highlight, though, is an impressive courtyard carved out of the main tower that merges exterior and interior.
Visitors can basque in sunlight while circulating through this covered atrium overlooking Mexico City. Large glass facades allow for some prime vistas, while a large cut-out and terrace provide a social space for patrons.
This design invigorates the traditional tower typology and connects the structure with the surrounding context of the city—something the architects felt was necessary due to recent urban sprawl that has reduced public space. By opening the building up and making a central courtyard, Meier creates a place for urban interaction.
He also honors Mexico's rich history of public urban spaces. The courtyard is reminiscent of many lush outdoor spaces that the temperate climate makes possible. Here is a selection of some of our favorite outdoor courtyards and terraces in Mexico.
Casa CorManca features a monolithic volume clad in slate and beechwood that opens up to an outdoor patio. A vertical green wall frames and activates it to function as a social space like a courtyard, although technically not enclosed on four sides by the building.
Located on a sloped site, Casa del Rio is designed to maximize views of the river and forest adjacent to the house. The upper level is divided into two distinct zones: a glass box with a gaming space and studio, and an outdoor terrace that overlooks the site.
This four-story building looks oddly like the Eames house with its grid of black metal window treatments and white facade panels. It is arranged around three gardens; one is a public area, one is private, and the other is a semi-public courtyard.
Puerta Alameda is closest to Meier's building in its program and typology. The mixed-use high-rise has three towers, built in phases, and Towers 2 and 3 have courtyards that are landscaped with a ring of trees around a pool of water and surrounded by multiple stories.
This multi-unit residential building is located on a beautiful roundabout and its classic, colonial-style courtyard features a fountain and a variety of vegetation. The cladding is limestone, while the roof acts as a fifth facade and has a rooftop terrace for the penthouses.
This outdoor patio is a wooden plane with a corresponding flat horizontal roof structure that partially covers it. Landscaping provides a visual transition from the clean lines of the deck to the rugged cliffs that the space overlooks.
Casa SORTEO Tec No.191, Monterrey, Mexico
This house in Monterrey, Mexico, takes full advantage of the lush climate in the region by offering multiple outdoor social spaces. Users can lounge on a small patio that merges with the blue tile-clad swimming pool, or make their way upstairs to a terrace on the second floor.