The overlapping volumetric composition creates a courtyard at the center of the campus, amplifying the sense of openness within, while blocking noise and visual traffic from Constituyentes Avenue. The 'floating' block perpendicular to Constituyentes Avenue, but raised above the level of traffic, uses glass to flood the library with light, as well as connect with the surrounding greenery, affording magnificent views across the Chapultepec Park. Studios parallel to Chapultepec Park are also strategically located to take optimal advantage of the views. The materials used are simple and straightforward, porous and fluid, filtering and shading the studios from sunlight and heat, but allowing the emphasis to be on the students, campus life and work; their activity and energy generated throughout the campus. Numerous communal and gathering spaces are strategically located around circulation areas. The centerpiece staircase by artist Jan Hendrix is yet another gathering place. It´s where people move to bring them into that space, to energize the space, for young people to meet each other, to see each other, to hang out. Rather than hide the campus’ stairs and pathways, students and teachers move about freely. 'I wanted people to really have to go through the whole building to get to different places. So they could use those stairs, they could use these stairs, and move to other places – you can discover the building in many different ways.'
Since its founding in 2004 by Gina Diez Barroso and Abraham Franklin, CENTRO has become Mexico’s pioneer institution for higher learning in the field of creativity. CENTRO embraces the intersection creativity, business, technology and science. Its rapid success over the past decade made it necessary to develop even larger and more specialized campus, capable of accommodating its growing student body. The project brief included intricate needs and connections for each of its seven undergraduate degrees; nine graduate degree programs; and continuing education courses in related topics. On one of Mexico City’s busiest avenues, Avenida Constituyentes, the new urban campus for CENTRO University physically embodies CENTRO’s dynamic and inclusive atmosphere. The LEED Platinum campus is a complex of four buildings above grade, and three below-grade parking levels. The campus is constructed on a 5,600 m2 piece of land with impressive views of Chaputepec Park. At the the heart of the 25,500 m2 campus are 2,150 m2 of green space and a 905 m2 exterior staircase by Mexican-based artist Jan Hendrix. Additional highlights of the new campus include a multifunctional auditorium with up to 450 seats that can be adjusted according to the needs of a specific event or performance; a four-story media library; a state-of the-art film studio; and a series of workshop studios that range from textiles and fashion to industrial design to jewelry and ceramics, each furnished with the latest machines and technologies for students to hone their craft.
The combination of studios and outdoor work areas offer distinct types of learning environments, allowing for fluid teaching methods and cross-pollination between CENTRO’s many creative disciplines. Learning and creating thus become social, integrating acts, with exposure to the city and countless points of personal encounter and interaction. The many gathering and circulating options promote an attitude of dynamism, energy, and exchange. The new site´s central location over Constituyentes Avenue not only provide for impressive views and the convenience of public transport; the very urban location is currently a low-level residential and small-commerce area, and Centro´s impact in its surrounding neighborhood has already carried significant associated infrastructural improvements, as well as employment and scholarship opportunities for the community. The central location currently facilitates the campus a range of spaces for its 2,500 student population, while allowing it grow into 7,000. Founder Gina Diez Barroso explains, “Abraham (Franklin) and I founded CENTRO with the mission to reimagine creative education by raising the professional standards of disciplines that prepare our students to establish successful careers within the fields that they are most passionate about. It has been a great pleasure to collaborate with Enrique Norten, who so clearly understands and embodies our vision, on a new home for CENTRO. With this new campus, we look forward to expanding both our course offerings and the number of international students we can accommodate, and to continue to provide an atmosphere that challenges, surprises and nourishes our students.”