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Torre Reforma

The Torre Reforma office building in Mexico City recently won the 2018 International Highrise Award, an award presented every two years by Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) to the development that best exemplifies the criteria of sustainability, cost-effectiveness, functionality, future-oriented design, innovative building technology and integration into urban development schemes.

Figure 1 – Torre Reforma (Source:

This building has garnered much acclaim for the way it responds to its location, given it sits in a region at risk of earthquakes. The building has been designed as a triangular form with two of the three outer walls constructed of exposed concrete, each reaching 60 metres into the ground, to provide earthquake resistance. The building has also been designed with large openings or ‘crumple zones’ on these two exposed concrete outer walls. These ‘crumple zones’ combined with steel braces that carry each floor, merge to create flexible hinges in front of the buildings third glazed outer wall. In this way the building has been designed to move with the forces applied to it and in September 2017, this innovative design was tested by the Puebla earthquake.

Torre Reforma has not only been designed to sit within its regional context and to navigate the associated seismic activity, the award-winning building has also been elegantly designed to integrate within its immediate surrounds. The form of the building is a response to Mexico City’s building regulations, which require the height of buildings on Paseo de la Reforma to be no more than twice the width of the street. However, given the location of the site this regulation can be varied to allow for greater height if the building is tapered or recessed in line with a site line. As per the regulations, this site line is drawn on the opposite side of the Paseo de la Reforma from a height of 1.8m to the highest point of the building.

Figure 2 – Site line to Torre Reforma (Source:, with emphasis added)

In response, Torre Reforma has been sophisticatedly designed as a triangular form with an integrated sloped façade. The sloped façade ensures that there is no material change to the character of the area or any greater material affect to the public realm amenity, given the additional height of the building above 200m. Further, the building’s 2,800m2 siting compared to the total approximate floor area of 87,000m2, will avoid unacceptable impacts on the adjoining private and public realms.

The design of Torre Reforma ensures compliance with the aforementioned building regulation, while creating a composition that serves as a memorable beacon in long range views and which is already an iconic part of the city image of Mexico City. A worthy winner of the 2018 International Highrise Award.

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