Located in the southern quadrant of Mexico City the National Film Archive and Film Institute of Mexico is home to the most important film heritage of Latin America. Its campus occupied an underutilized site of considerable dimensions within the strangled town of Xoco. This historic town, once surrounded by agricultural land, now seats deep within the urban sprawl and faces disappearance due to economic and political pressures from developers and municipal authorities which covet its privileged location.
Facing total renewal Cineteca's original project brief included the expansion and renovation of the existing complex including additional vault space and four more screening rooms. But additionally, in response to the immediate urban condition, much restorative work needed to be done to reclaim part of the site as public space and give relief to the dense new-development-filled surroundings of Xoco.
The first actions where the relocation of surface parking -which occupied 40% of the site- to a six-storey structure and the reactivation of the 'back entrance', across the street from the historic town's cemetery, which had a more pedestrian friendly scale -70% of Cineteca's patrons use public transportation and arrive by foot-. The reclaimed space houses the new program organized along two axes, one perpendicular to the street of Real Mayorazgo that became the main pedestrian entrance and one perpendicular to Av. México-Coyoacán for both car and pedestrian access. The axes intersection became a new large-scale public plaza sheltered from the weather by a hovering canopy that connects the existing complex with the new screening rooms. The sheltered space can accommodate additional program options such as concerts, theater, exhibitions, etc. An outdoors amphitheater, extensive landscaping and new retail spaces were added to the original program expanding the possibilities for social and cultural interaction and exchanges.