Located at the center of the Parque Fundidora in Monterrey, the Museum of Steel (Museo Del Acero Horno3) is housed in a decommissioned blast furnace. The landscape expresses the spirit of the site’s industrial heritage and celebrates its position within the surrounding landscape. The history of steel is an important narrative element throughout the site, and steel— much of it reclaimed from the site— is used extensively to help define public plazas and delineate fountains and landscaped terraces.
Two water features are integral to the narrative, while helping to define the public space and entrance to the museum. In the main esplanade, the steel plates that once clad the exterior of the main hall were repurposed into a stepped canal. The 600-foot-long feature alludes to the tracks that brought thousands of tons of raw materials to the furnace each day, and it serves as a visual connection to the rain garden in the landscape beyond. At the museum entrance, the canal culminates in the misting fountain, a grid of rocks visibly embedded with ore. This trompe l'oeil evokes the caustic heating process once used to extract ore, but instead of steam it generates a cooling mist that blows over the plaza — a pleasant surprise for visitors in Monterrey's hot and arid climate.
As part of the ecological restoration of the site, stormwater runoff is treated in a series of on-site treatment runnels. These surround the exhibition areas and reinterpret the former industrial canals that once moved steel production by-products within the site. Aquatic plants and wetland macrophytes bio-remediate and treat stormwater before it enters an underground cistern where it is stored for dry season irrigation.
The use of green roofs over the museum—the largest such roof system in Latin America —helps to reduce the visual impact of the new building. The existing furnace rises from this newly created ground plane. On the higher roof, a variety of drought-tolerant sedums have been arranged to correspond to the structural members of the new building, and they are contained by what appears to be a floating steel disk. A circular viewing deck allows visitors to take in the expanse of the larger landscape, including the distant Sierra Madres, which are echoed in the roof's mounded planting. Below, a meadow of tall grasses—an abstraction of the native landscape—creates a connection to the landscape's pre-industrial context, both functioning as a bioremediation for degraded soil and increasing thermal benefits for the new structure.