Botanical Garden Culiacán (North Access and Laboratory)
Studio: Tatiana Bilbao Estudio
Authors: Tatiana Bilbao, Catia Bilbao, Juan Pablo Benlliure, David Vaner, Sofía Betancur, Jose Gabriel Amozurrutia, Gonzalo Mauleón, Sonia Castañón, Paola Toriz, Roberto Rosales Salazar, Israel Álvarez, Mariana Tello, Lina Ruelas, Sebastián Córdova, Carlos Leguizamo, Julieta Sobral, Ana Maria Yumbe, Diana Figueroa
Location: Culiacán, Mexico
General aspects: Culiacán, a city in northwestern Mexico, 80 km away from the Pacific Coast, has a population of over one million inhabitants. For more than thirty years its botanical garden has been known for its collection of tropical flora containing over 750 species. Carlos Murillo began this garden with the intention of improving the city’s quality of life and offering Culiacan’s people new ways to learn through experience: touching, seeing, smelling. Besides its plant variety, the garden is unique because it functions like a park. Visitors can enjoy various activities such as: sports, picnics, or promenades through the landscape.
To develop this unique space, the president trustee decided to commission a curator, Patrick Charpenel, to ask some of the most renowned artists to make site-specific art to compel visitors to contemplate on the mediation between art and society.
Tatiana Bilbao’s office was brought onto the project to develop a master plan that would mediate between the landscape and art, and place the necessary service buildings that would organize the program. We developed a pattern by tracing the branches of one of the park’s most emblematic trees into the existing plan and mapping it into a diagram of programmatic needs. A set of buildings including cultural areas, educational facilities, laboratories and green houses, storage and administrative offices with public services were deployed throughout the Garden. All the programs are scattered around the garden and the building are fragmented in different volumes that promote the contact with the nature of the visitors.
Why did you choose this category?: Culiacán has one of the highest statistics of violent crime in Mexico, being stronghold of Sinaloa cartel and organized crime. Within this context the quality of life in the city has decrease in the last decades. Before these circumstances, society had to take measures to promote new opportunities of culture and recreation. The Botanical Garden is one of the few spaces of the city where people can enjoy nature and art as a community in a safe environment. This collective place allows the population of Culiacan to find a place to workout, learn about botanical species, interact with art pieces of some of the most important artists in contemporary art, a scenery for special portraits or just a simple picnic. Even though it can’t be measure, its proven that culture have a strong relationship to economic development and trigger improvements in welfare. The Garden trustee is committed to promoting common values, attitudes and knowledge through nature, art and an extend program of activities that will have a positive influence on social development of the city. The architecture of Tatiana Bilbao Estudio brings the support that the garden needs to carry out their mission, with the principal objective of connecting all the inhabitants of the space.