A renovation and restoration project in the Historic Center of the port city of Veracruz has won the highest award offered by the 14th Mexican Architectural Biennial.
The 240-million-peso (USD $12.4-million) project, entitled Veracruz 500 Years Gateway to the Sea, includes pedestrian corridors on the 16 de Septiembre avenue, special decorations on several streets, cantera stone sidewalks, and the restoration of historical areas such as the Gran Plaza del Malecón, Plaza Morelos, Plaza Reforma and the Baluarte de Santiago, also known as the bastion of gunpowder.
One of the most striking projects is that of the Plaza de la República, a public space dedicated in 1968 that consists of a large esplanade with planters and benches.
The complete rehabilitation and renovation project encompasses 550,000 square meters in downtown Veracruz, with a reported completion of 65% to date.
The legendary Barrio de la Huaca is also being consider for the preservation project. La Huaca is a downtown borough considered as the birthplace of Jarocho culture, described as a person, item or style of music from the port city.
Originally consisting of 27 patios and shacks, La Huaca was the meeting place for laborers from Cuba, Spain and the African continent.
The Veracruz project was one of the 400 considered for the prize, of which only 17 were granted.
The jury said it was among the best in the Public Spaces category.
“The prize is for the city, and it acknowledges the mayor’s work, drive and leadership,” said the director of the Historic Center of Veracruz and designer of the renovation project.
“The jury consisted of the most renowned architects in the country; neither politics, chambers nor dealings and intrigue played a role in it,” said Manolo Ruíz Falcón.
Ruiz described the project as having a “contemporary style, because repeating older styles is a mistake. That is no longer done anywhere in the world.”
The work is part of the celebrations for the city’s upcoming 500th anniversary as a municipality, the first city in the Americas to celebrate such a milestone.
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