Hi, my name is Leonardo Da Vinci… Don’t you believe me? Well, you do right! I am Rodolfo, the searcher of materials and construction systems of most fame of today. I have always believed that my ancestor Leonardo should live in our time, a mind privileged like yours should have had that prerogative, or you have not thought about the wonders that he could have created at this time, who once was the greatest scientific genius and artistic of the 15th and 16th centuries? I yes, of course.
I think much about it when I travel to Mexico, that country so cheerful, so incredible, so full of sweet and sour surprises and unique in the world (although this is a no-brainer). From the year 2010 I have been visiting regularly the capital to see how it develops one of my favorite projects: The Tower BBVA Bancomer.
Fourth Stop: The Metal Tower.
BBVA Bancomer opted for the city of Mexico to celebrate the merger of the largest bank in the country (Bancomer) and one of the most important financial institutions of the world (BBVA), The project was chosen by contest between two architectural firms who were responsible of the design of the Tower BBVA Bancomer, these firms are «Legorreta + Legorreta» (father and son) and «Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners» (I also miss the companies of a single name). The bet was risky because of the different architectural languages used by the two companies, but I had supported them from the beginning in its decision: without risk there is not victory and it is clear that the result is magnificent!
After the construction is complete, the Tower will be 235 meters of height and consists of 50 apartments that will provide approximately 78,000 square meters of space for offices, which will be filled by 4,500 employees.
The design evokes a texture of traditional lattice of Mexican architecture. I would also like to highlight the gardens every nine plants that will delight of workers (vertical villages), the Coffee Shop will be on a terrace over the Park located in the “Paseo de la Reforma” with spectacular views and an auditorium to promote a greater interaction among employees.
It is important to note here that the building has a clear will of energy efficiency and of commitment to the environment, this is designed and built thinking to be certified LEED (leader in energy and environmental design), which is the American standard which recognizes structures committed to the environment. The construction will have energy savings of 25%, maximum use of natural light, generous green spaces, a saving of between 30 and 50% of water and 75% recycling of construction products.
The metals are so important in the history that you would not understand the evolution of humanity without them. It are can molded in hot and/or in cold and It can adopt the most incredible shapes, are rigid when is required and are flexible when you need. The profits include the entire imaginable spectrum: tools, weapons, cooking utensils, jewellery, decorations, surgical material, vehicles… and how not, the construction.
The metal more used in construction is the steel and its most assiduous form are the metal profiles (T, double T, IPN, IPE, etc.). With these profiles you can build in height because they lighten the weight of the building (it come in handy for the foundations), they allow a few more lights (distance between pillars), and they also allow free passage for installations (a big plus) and, above all, greatly reduced the time of execution of the work and the need for space to deposit the work material given that being made of prefabricated parts and we not require a place to store it until use.
There is another reason to use the steel as structure in our buildings: it have a great tenacity (energy that the material absorbs before the crack) with it which resists any effort, especially to traction. There are three forms of structural unions: using rivets, unions bolted and unions welded; these last two are those that are used more often due to the advantages that represent. The screws allow permanent joints and mounting and dismounting of the structure and the welds ensuring the continuity of efforts between the different pieces of the same material. However, the welds must be carried out by professionals in the field and we must corroborate its state with some method non-invasive (liquids penetrant, ultrasonic, x-ray, etc.)
Coffee to 150 meters
The last time I was in the building, I carried a few litres of Balché, it is a drink used by the ancient Maya as liquor ceremonial, I searched for the drink in the State of Tabasco, where not added alcohol, all with the idea of making a gift to the workers because they have very well behaved with me during my visits. But the Manager not allowed which I handed the drink to the workers, «is their duty to treat you well,» he said aloud, after he whisper to me that he divided the drink it later with them, he imposed his authority… that things have the works!
Yet, he forced that they carried two coffees for us to 150 meters to height. I assure you that to drink a very hot coffee at that height while it watches huge metal beams that it is hoisting with the Paseo de la Reforma below… is one of the best experiences of my life!
I hope to see the finish of the construction of the Torre BBVA Bancomer and, if we are in his inauguration, perhaps I can invite you to Balche in the coffee shop, only perhaps, clear. Good bye.