The Utopía Estrella Iztapalapa project in Mexico City has been recognized by the Holcim Awards 2023 for being one of the world’s top sustainable architecture projects.
With a total prize pool of US $1 million, only five projects – out of 2,380 entrants globally – won a Holcim Awards Gold prize for their outstanding contribution to sustainable development.
Utopía Estrella, which won in the Latin America category, is a project that aims to revitalize a former landfill site providing sports, cultural, social, and ecological education facilities for around 230,000 of the Iztapalapa borough’s 1.8 million residents.
Designed by Cano | Vera Arquitectura in Mexico City, Utopía Estrella will become “the most important social infrastructure of the area” to help the transformation of Iztapalapa, Mexico City’s largest and one of its poorest boroughs, which has a population density of 16,000 inhabitants per square kilometer.
The are 12 other Utopía centers in the borough, which have been built during the term of Clara Brugada (the Morena party candidate for Mexico City mayor in 2024), each aiming to provide cultural and leisure opportunities for Iztapalapa residents. The Utopía Ship opened in April this year, providing a new aquarium and IT facilities. The Utopía Plane, a converted Boeing 737 airliner, has served as a library since opening in 2020.
Utopía Estrella, which started construction in January 2023, emphasizes the importance of water treatment and environmental regeneration while addressing the water challenges that Mexico City faces due to lack of infrastructure, population demands, and pollution.
“The jury panel was profoundly impressed by this design project, which undertakes a remarkable regeneration intervention in a challenging neighborhood in Mexico City,” Holcin said in a statement, adding that it stood out “for its genuine commitment to achieving a positive impact on the community.”
The complete list of winners includes projects in China, Spain, Ghana and Canada.
Holcim, a global provider of low-carbon building solutions, started the awards in 2003 to support the global movement for sustainable design and construction.