Search AZ Awards ...
Awards By Category
Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca 780

“Iconic architecture” is a term often applied to attention-grabbing buildings that appear to transcend their context. But many of the most enduring built forms emerge as a reflection of their surroundings. In other words, truly iconic structures often fit right in. In Mexico City, the tower at Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca 780 exemplifies quiet, sensitive design that embraces — and embodies — its site.

Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca 780

Designed by local practice HEMAA, the 13-storey office complex transforms a narrow, triangular plot in the former railway hub of Cuernavaca. Hemmed in by the curve of a remnant rail track, the building converges at a flatiron east frontage that measures just four metres in width. Inside, however, the office environments feel surprisingly open, airy and functional. These attractive, light-filled spaces contribute to the commercial viability of the project despite its profoundly challenging site. On the roof, a lush green terrace opens up views of the city’s skyline to office workers, while a compact street-level café animates the public realm.

“It’s smart in the way it uses the space and brings something to the city. It has open. continuous spaces even in areas that can be narrow, but I think that’s what makes it unique. I like the thickness of it.”
Héctor Esrawe, AZ Awards 2024 Juror
Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca 780

To evoke this generous sense of space, HEMAA employed a structural steel facade, which allowed it to strategically place a compact elevator core at the site’s wider west elevation, thereby maximizing floor area. An even smaller exit stair sits near the east elevation, and both concrete cores are prominently visible through the glazing. The robust steel exoskeleton also meets and exceeds the requirements of the city’s strict high-rise building code, which ensures stability in a seismic region.

Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca 780

Finally, this impressive feat of engineering speaks a distinctive and profoundly contextual architectural language. Across the building’s elevation, a carefully ordered geometry unifies its varied, angular form. HEMAA’s rigorous emphasis on proportion sees the golden ratio repeated across the facade, where it creates a subtle, elegant and coherent public presence. In myriad ways, the design makes virtues of the site’s limitations. From afar, it is a building that deftly blends into the urban fabric. And up close? A quiet local icon.

Team: Santiago Hernández Matos with Alonso Sanchez, José Pedro Lopez, Adriana Aguirre, Juan Octavio Ferreyra, Daniela Parra, Jorge Ramos, Patricio Salgado, Alejandra Tornel, José Miguel Fainsod; and DLC Architects

Winner: Buildings Over 1,000SqM
Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca 780

Designed by local practice HEMAA, the 13-storey office complex ingeniously transforms an awkward triangular plot.

Explore more Award Winners

2020
WinnerBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Location
Qinhuangdao, China
Firm
ch Office (Shanghai, China)
2013
Award of MeritBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Firm
Sean Godsell Architects, Melbourne
Team
Sean Godsell, with Hayley Franklin
2014
Award of MeritBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Location
Mexico City, Mexico
Firm
Fernanda Canales and Arquitectura 911sc, Mexico City
Team
Fernanda Canales, Jose Castillo and Saidee Springall