A public space to bring the mountain back to the city.
In recent years, there has been an increase in air pollution in the city of Monterrey. The media has focused especially on the active quarries of the metropolitan area. Moreover, the inactive quarries have been abandoned, without remediating the fragmentation of the habitat. This situation has inserted a negative idea in the citizens towards the pits. This project is a long-term development with the opportunity to change a space of environmental destruction to one of resilience, as happened with the “Fundidora” in Monterrey, which is now industrial heritage. Monterrey is called “The city of the mountains”, which provide the city environmental services (such as regulation of the climate, water cycle and oxygen) and are inherent to the identity of the “regiomontano” or people of Monterrey. Beginning with a historical analysis of the perception of the city, an imaginary was built divided into the following chapters: Early Mapping, Pure Land, Human and Mountain, Architecture in the Landscape, City of Mountains and a Living Landscape.
Mining and quarrying are one of the major human activities that can still be observed from space. In this post-industrial landscape lies the anthropogenic paradigm of an ecosystem where nature and artifice are now inseparable.
The Cerro de las Mitras is part of the Sierra Madre Oriental, one of the mountain systems that cross the country from North to South. In the project’s quarry, which surface is about 150 hectares, limestone was extracted due to the geological composition of the strata and was used for construction materials.
The organic soil restoration strategies promote
the recovery of altered ecosystems in order to renovate their natural structure and function. The regeneration of the landscape was proposed through a botanical intervention that conserves the native vegetation of the semi-desert region, adapted to the local types of climate: Warm arid and Humid Subtropical.
This plan integrates to the ecological corridors formed by the protected natural areas such as the Cumbres of Monterrey National Park and the system of public parks.
A catalogue of the Cerro de las Mitras flora and fauna is compiled. The native and especially endangered species are preserved and introduced to the public in permanent and temporary exhibitions. The citrus region of the state of Nuevo León is integrated into the garden to show the importance of shaping productive landscapes. Visitors will be able to eat the fruits while completing their sensory experience.
The altitude of the quarry varies between 600-1400 m.a.s.l. The ecosystems were placed depending on the heights above sea level, the orientation, the soil humidity and the extension of the area.
“The aim is to create a public space where visitors can theatrically view the city from the mountain, but also a city that observes its restored mountain.”
The types of soils determined both buildable and vegetation areas:
• Exposed rock: left intact and with reinforcement structures at its limits (retaining elements, preventive meshes, anchors).
• Gravel: buildable or reclamation areas.
• Sand: recreation areas with possible buildings.
• Green area: without alterations.
• Reclaimed or mixed land: respected.
Islands with mound shapes were designed, representing an abstraction of the mountain. In these the quality of the soil is improved through forestry practices and new vegetation is sowed. The plants will spontaneously surpass the limits of the islands, proliferating towards the rest of the quarry.
The program includes an open-air auditorium, a quarry museum, a regional botanical research center, barbecue area, exhibition and plants shop, trekking and hiking paths that connect with the mountain, among others. The phases of the program development are indicated with the progressive succession of the ecosystems in spans of 7 years.
These long-term actions on the landscape, togeth- er with the architectural program of the park, will create a new ecology and a new public space available for the inhabitants, capable of bringing the mountain back to the city of Monterrey.