Avenida Chapultepec in Mexico City began as a road for Aztec emperors. Over the years the broad boulevard, which leads from the old Colonia Centro to Chapultepec Park, hosted an aqueduct and the city’s first electric tram. But the 20th century wasn’t particularly kind to the thoroughfare.
Pounded with traffic and gray with diesel soot, it no longer represents the aspirations of a contemporary Mexico City. But that might change. FR-EE, the Mexico City–based architecture practice headed by Fernando Romero, recently proposed a multimodal greenway to replace a section of Avenida Chapultepec.
FR-EE’s proposal, the Cultural Corridor Chapultepec (CCC), remakes a 0.8-mile stretch from Chapultepec Park down to the free-for-all circular junction at Glorieta de los Insurgentes. According to the office, the two-level boulevard will have lanes specifically dedicated to bikes, skaters, wheelchairs, strollers, cars, and buses, with a central promenade for pedestrians.
“This project will organize the surroundings, will double the green areas, will enhance connectivity and will celebrate the cultural diversity of the city,” Romero explained in a press release.
Renderings show a lush upper level promenade planted with shade trees and High Line–like foliage. Cafes and other retail spaces dot the new landscape. The proposal leans toward climate-sensitive features. The hope is that plantings will mitigate the intense “heat island” effect of a long, open surface in the middle of the city. Rainwater will be collected and recycled for irrigation and there are plans to provide solar cells for electricity.
A proposal at this scale is somewhat of a departure for Romero, who works with expressive architectural form more than urban fabric. The architect, best known for his sleek and gestural Museo Soumaya, is currently working with Foster + Partners on the Mexico City International Airport. However, the design reflects the global influence of placemaking combined with infrastructural urbanism—a sustainable tonic that could benefit a super dense metropolis like Mexico City.