Chedraui commissioned a new flagship store for a complex, unarticulated site lacking pedestrian connectivity in the car-dependent development of Santa Fe, located on the western outskirts of Mexico City. The area is characterized by a deficiency of open space and parks. Additionally, the surrounding community lacks a sense of place, where local food producers had no presence in an area full of big brand-name stores.
A unique architectural program and appearance were proposed for the new store along with giving a green space back to the community. Adding to the requested traditional retail space and parking component, a rooftop terrace housing a 18,568-square-foot orchard and 13,240-square-foot market square were incorporated with a series of pathways connect the two. Store patrons can access the orchard to learn about organic farming and purchase fresh produce. This experience contributes to an appreciation of food and how it gets from ‘farm to fork.’ The market square now accommodates local producers, adding to the variety traditionally offered by the supermarket. As the interactive and exploratory environment evolves, new programmatic options can be accommodated. The space can be utilized as an event platform where local community groups and schools can hold educational programs, workshops, farm tours, children’s events, etc.
The facade is composed of 531 GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete panels) which give the store its very dynamic signature in direct contrast to the typical “retail boxes” which have sprung up in the neighborhood. Four large tensile structures shelter the parking area and pathways to the orchard from the intense sun, and become a luminous landmark as they glow at night.
The store’s terrace is expected to become a space open to the community where neighbors and customers can create a sense of place simultaneously promoting food, nutrition, and environmental awareness. The terrace can also become a platform to strengthen the bond with local producers and enhance local economies.