Amanda Olczak

Amanda Olczak

Detroit, MI, US


high rise

Sited in Mexico City on the Paseo de la Reforma near Chapultepec Park, this high-rise project built upon the question of what makes a form asked in the found object sculpture and the studio’s larger purpose of sensibility training.

Skyscrapers tend to duplicate the same American models throughout the world, and while the history and progression of the typology are critical considerations in design, it is neither culturally appropriate nor architecturally interesting to copy a building meant for Chicago to Mexico City, so in addition to developing our own design aesthetic we were asked to incorporate Mexican culture into our design without reverting to historicist reproduction or cultural stereotyping.

My design proposes three separate but similar towers drawing their influence primarily from terraced Mayan gardens. Each floor plate is rotated slightly to achieve a terraced effect and the different heights of each tower, as viewed from the park, show the forms to be twisted and stepped. The facade is clad partially in clear glass and partially in translucent, colored glass. By running up the full height of the buildings, these strips of color simultaneously give the high-rises weight while emphasizing their upward energy. Because Mexican art and design is less afraid of ornamentation than its American and European counterparts, the structure incorporated patterns of circular elements to serve both functional and decorative purposes. The structural system affects the visual experience of the buildings from the interior as well as from farther away.   

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Status: School Project
Location: Mexico City
My Role: designer