CEMEX Building Award Mexico Series: A Merger of Earth and Concrete at DeCote Vineyard | #CEMEX News
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CEMEX Building Award Mexico Series: A Merger of Earth and Concrete at DeCote Vineyard

Date published: August 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.

When building projects in the countryside as opposed to the city, there is no point of reference other than nature itself. Maintaining harmony with the surroundings when building a wine cellar, together with the kind of technical requirements involved, entails a tremendous challenge, especially while keeping the focus on sustainability.

This is according to Juan Pablo Serrano, the architect in charge of the Viñedo DeCote vineyard project, which attained the Second Place in the Commercial and Mixed Uses Category of the 13th Mexican Edition of the CEMEX Building Award Competition.

With the prospect of creating a building that would fit in with the environment, and which could house the annual output of 250,000 bottles of wine per year, a multi-disciplinary team was formed comprised of everything from builders to agricultural engineers, says Ignacio Calderón, General Manager of Bodegas DeCote [DeCote Wineries]. "We wanted to construct a building that would catch the eye, an iconic landmark for the area, that would not only be well constructed but would also respect the environment," said Calderón.

The starting point would be the bodega or wine cellar, where temperature and humidity needed to remain constant for the oak barrels. Thus the decision was made to build underground, 7 meters [22 feet] below the surface. The earth that was extracted from the excavation became part of the construction: it was mixed with cement and local sand in order to produce the "technologically-enriched adobe bricks," which comprise 70% of the construction volume.

With CEMEX’s support, the perfect recipe was found for the bricks, with the same precision lab-work as for the preparation of wine with different blends of grapes and their period of rest in barrels or casks.

"Opening this panorama of materials - especially those existing in the fields - and how they can be worked with the very same earth taken from the land, I believe is one of the greatest challenges we’ve overcome," says Serrano. Gray concrete, present in the structure and the cellar container, is a guarantee of strength and durability. It is no wonder that it is now known as “the rock of the 20th Century,” says the architect.

"It's the most stable and strongest structure. So, combining concrete with earth, combining it with the metal structure, combining it with wood and metal... I believe is the essence of contemporary architecture: leaving the materials exposed," he explains.

CEMEX and the construction company have the proximity and the technical support to be able to always have the specific kind of mixer ready at the jobsite with the necessary aggregates, and type of strength based on the structural calculations, as needed, says the architect.

The Serrano Monjaraz Arquitectos firm has been entering the CEMEX Building Awards Competition for several years now. The architect says that seeing the fruits of their work translated into a prize is an incentive to keep going.

"Finding this kind of satisfaction at work, and at the same time, earning an award to celebrate it, fills us with extra energy, and drives us to continue to work with passion," Serrano concludes.

CEMEX Building Award México Series: A Merger of Earth and Concrete at DeCote Vineyard CEMEX Building Award México Series: A Merger of Earth and Concrete at DeCote Vineyard CEMEX Building Award México Series: A Merger of Earth and Concrete at DeCote Vineyard

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