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CEMEX Building Award Mexico Series: A University Project Materialized in Concrete

Date published: March 10, 2015

The CEMEX Building Award is an initiative created and organized by CEMEX for the purpose of distinguishing the best in architecture and construction around the world. Each year, CEMEX has distinguished the best construction projects and all those people who have made these possible: architects, engineers, investors, and constructors. In this series, we recognize the winners of the 2014 Mexico edition.

CEMEX Building Award Mexico Series: A University Project Materialized in Concrete

While they were studying for their B.A. in Industrial Design at the University of Monterrey, Paola Mora, Ricardo Loustaunau, and Salvador Lluch experimented with various materials: wood, glass fiber, metals, polymers and even ceramics.

They never imagined that their Final Project Assignment for graduation would be concrete – a material with which they had never worked and would eventually lead them to attain the Third Place in the Urbanism Category of the 23rd CEMEX Mexico Building Award Competition. They also won the Third Place in the Special Award for Innovation in Techniques and Construction Processes.

They decided to design an outdoor bench and, since concrete finishes are common throughout this university campus, the young designers chose to replicate this material in their project, trying to integrate it subtly.

There were other advantages such as little maintenance, durability and weather resistance as well. They named their project "Amoeba" because of its organic and irregular shape.

Along the way, they would find two additional benefits, “for example, how docile or compliant it is in handling,” says Paola. Salvador adds that "We liked it a whole lot, and many other people like it too. You might think it would feel uncomfortable [to sit on], but that is not the case at all. It adapts very well to your body.”

CEMEX Building Award Mexico Series: A University Project Materialized in Concrete

To conceive their bench, the team came up with the idea of creating 30 molded pieces, in different proportions, that repeat themselves in a mirror-like fashion until you get a full shape supported by two axes.

They acquired CEMEX concrete slabs in a prefab products factory, and manually shaped them to the desired size using a water jet machine. Cutting, cleaning, numbering, fitting and assembling was an undertaking that took more than a full trip.

For Paola, the choice of a Mexican company with a global presence was a determining factor in bringing their project to fruition successfully. "CEMEX has always enjoyed great brand recognition. We felt that it would give us the best quality, and in the long run, it would produce the best result," remarks the brand new Industrial Design graduate.

After passing their Final Project Class with honors, Ricardo came up with the idea of entering their project in the CEMEX Mexico Building Award competition, to the amazement of his fellow team members. Pala said that "for us it is was a matter of great pride to be able to compete with people who have been in the field for a long time; and to us, being basically recent graduates, even getting to the finals was a huge deal, let alone winning."

It is a fact that now that these industrial designers will have concrete very much in mind for their future projects. "We now want to try and manipulate it in other ways, and find new shapes, and other uses too," explains Paola.

Donated to their alma mater, "Amoeba" is now a permanent element at the Roberto Garza Sada Center and a matter of pride for this trio of new professionals, who literally graduated with an award-winning piece.

CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.

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