Located in the city of León, in the prosperous interior state of Guanajuato, this conference center and exhibition space symbolizes the prosperity and innovation of the local leather industry. The site is in a low-density district that includes a stadium, a park, and dispersed cultural buildings.
The facility has several layers: an open ground level that allows the landscape to flow through; a translucent volume that hovers above; and a partly concealed below-grade expanse. The three layers are connected by transparent structural “baskets.” These playful, natural shapes contain vertical circulation, joining the levels with voids rather than with solids; variations in size correspond to the hierarchy of function. The woven, transparent baskets distribute light to the different levels, particularly to the below-grade services. In the floating upper level, which contains the display areas, the baskets illuminate the space from within.
The ground plane swells and dips under the building like a wave carrying a boat. The entirely artificial terrain bulges and folds in order to accommodate the below-grade café, parking, exhibition spaces, and auditorium. These components register on the surface as soft, swollen volumes covered by a grass skin. The upper level of the building is framed by a large box truss. Its translucent facade is punctuated by a mottled, digital pattern, an index of readings of light and views. Inside, a ribbon like wall provides an exhibition surface. The double-sided configuration allows for natural light on both sides. Finally, the open, un-programmed ground level is defined by the tension between the created topography and the floating volume.
The facility has several layers: an open ground level that allows the landscape to flow through; a translucent volume that hovers above; and a partly concealed below-grade expanse.