Mexico is famous for its eclectic musical heritage from the toe-tapping tunes of mariachi street performers to the iconic guitar riffs of Carlos Santana. More recently still, there have been notable advancements in the classical genre with the inauguration of the Boca del Rio Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, and this prestigious organization is set for a venue fitting of its cultural significance: the Foro Boca concert hall by Rojkind Arquitectos broke ground last week in Veracruz.
The building is conceived as a formal extension to the breakwater that extends into the Gulf of Mexico with large concrete cubes reminiscent of riprap, rock that is used as “armor” to prevent the coastline from being too quickly eroded. Given that the performance halls require highly controlled lighting, the structure is almost entirely devoid of windows, resulting in monolithic volumes with a strong sculptural quality.
Foro Boca is envisaged as part of a wider regeneration project for Boca del Rio, which the architects describe as “within an urban area that is currently deteriorated.” The addition of a major cultural landmark in such a region has been a key part of many planning strategies ever since Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim transformed the fortunes of Bilbao in northern Spain. As Rojkind put it, Foro Boca is designed “as an urban detonator capable of inciting modernity in the area.”
Internally, the theater has been designed in conjunction with specialists to optimize acoustics, isotopics, and theatrical mechanics, which the architects believe should make it the most technologically advanced concert hall in Mexico. The 850-seat main venue will host classical, traditional, and popular music, and a further 150-seat rehearsal hall will be able to serve for floor theater and contemporary dance.
Numerous public spaces are integrated into the layout, including a cafeteria, restaurant, and bar with a large terrace that looks out over both the Jamapa River and the open ocean. At ground level, a paved plaza will extend alongside the concert hall and down the breakwater, providing further informal performance spaces to complement the activity of this new cultural hub.