Zeidler Partnership Architects Interview Part 5: Sinking City

Mexico City is sinking. The challenges of building on top of a ‘soup.’

Qasim Virjee
Zeidler Partnership Architects, Carolina Eyzaguirre, Elise Hodson, Qasim Virjee
March 2006
Mexico City, MEXICO
© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.


Mexico City is sinking. The challenge of building on top of a ‘soup’. "Dalibor: [Mexico City is situated on a] drying lake. The city is pumping the water for its use so the whole lake layer is slowly sinking. [Buildings with good foundations] have support [and] they stay where they are [but the ground is sinking around them] so they have to add, every so often, a step because [the buildings] actually rise from the ground." Eley: "Basically the building [Torre Mayor] is standing on a number of piles that reach firmer ground through the city and the substance of the surrounding land. What I was told at one point was that depending on the characteristics of vibration in the soil, in any given site, buildings of certain heights are more dangerous than others. In other words you could do a map of San Francisco with, shall we say, forbidden heights. To develop 30 storey buildings might be perfectly alright to develop over here. Whereas over here, due to the characteristics of the soil, they would actually pick up the vibration. There are actually places where ten storey buildings are not appropriate, and [other] places where twenty story buildings are safe."

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