Fountain PlazaEdit profile
GUZMAN MASTER PLAN AND FOUNTAIN PLAZA GUZMAN, JALISCO, MEXICO The Fountain Plaza is the completed first phase of the Masterplan of the Regeneration of the Historic Center of Guzman City, a small and very picturesque city an hour south of Guadalajara, Mexico. Guzman was selected as the official venue for Rowing and Canoeing of the 2011 Pan-American Games because of its proximity with a large lake. Like most cities in Mexico, it has been gradually growing in size and population with no apparent strategy or planning. With the pretext of the Pan-American Games and the construction of a new Rowing Facility on its lake, the municipal government hired us to develop the Masterplan for the entire city and consequently the Masterplan for its historic center. These kind of Sporting events become the perfect excuse to inject resources to regenerate specific public areas of the city. Guzman has a huge potential to become a destination city because of its many attractions: its undeveloped and almost virgin-like lake, the historic center with its cathedral and many churches, its ten universities and the conglomerate cliffs of the nearby mountains. We identified these specific areas as reciprocal quiescent spheres waiting to be aroused to interact with each other, like atoms in a dormant state before a chain reaction transforms them into energy. This was the concept behind the master plan: take advantage of the intervention of the Pan-American Games to detonate the potential and the interaction of different areas of the city. Guzman has huge traffic problems due to several reasons: as a city it has the highest car ownership per capita in Mexico, all the principal roads cross through the historic center instead of taking alternate routes and there exists a generalized habit of taking the car for relatively short distances instead of walking or using a bicycle. We proposed to gradually disencourage the use of the car by turning most of the principal streets of the center into pedestrian roads and restricting it in others, reroute the principal avenues to avoid the center and through a bicycle rental program incentivize the use of alternative means of transportation. Another major problem to attend was the limited hours people dwelled in the center due to a monopolized commercial use. In order to combat this we fomented a mixed and varied use through the reincorporation of a residential, office, restaurant and bar use. This way people would mingle in the center for an extended schedule of time making it safer at night and injecting it with life. Other important issues that needed solving were the reduced intensity in the blocks surrounding the main square (we took them from one level to two and three stories) and the lack of vegetation creating an arid environment. The Master Plan for the Historic Center identifies seven specific areas and grants them with a particular character and activity that distinguishes them from one another: The Gastronomical Walkway, The Commercial Avenue, The Main Square (known as the “Zocalo`), The Fountain Plaza, The White Plaza, The Access Plaza (known as “Jardín del Rico`) and Reforma Avenue. All these areas have a special vegetation palette, lighting, mobiliary and pavement design as well as the precise activity they promote. Besides its aesthetic quality, the tree densification program pretends to create ample shade on the streets to promote walking since Guzman has a very calid climate almost all year round. Guzman´s cathedral was constructed in the mid XXth century and lost one of its towers in the earthquake of 1985. Almost all cathedrals in colonial cities in Mexico have an esplanade in front for social and religious manifestations. In Guzman a street crosses right in front of it so our project intended to recover this public space of social interaction. Given the ardent climate and the lack of shade, fountains embedded in the pavement were conceived to refresh during the day and as a spectacle at night. The design for the pavement was an abstract interpretation of the circles rain drops form in a storm. With this project Guzman City and its inhabitants gained a new public plaza.