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The New National Cinema House

In April 2011, the new project for the renewal and expansion of the National Cinema House (Cineteca) in the southern part of the city was publicly announced. The original 1984 building was designed by architect Manuel Rocha in a brutalist post-modern style that valued open and public space over built environment. The new project was commissioned to Michel Rojkind and the process brought about interesting reflections concerning the design of a public space that embeds such an important heritage for the arts. The design explores the programme through five main areas: retail space, landscape design, cultural affairs, the food court and relations with the pre-existing buildings. These functions coexist organically and inspire different activities and uses of the space. One of the analogies for the consolidation of the design was to think of the complex as a university campus where the interactions between the users would engage them into a more open and social environment.

The centrepiece of the new project is its canopy that opens and closes its gaps to allow natural light to pass through it. The canopy is designed with a geometric lattice pattern and interacts harmoniously with the several programs and spaces beneath it. The designers of the new Cineteca Nacional proposed that this project should be outfitted with a complete remodeling of the cultural complex, an integration of archival storage as well as four new theaters for film screenings. The pre-existing theaters of the complex were updated to have the same cutting-edge screening technology as the four new ones in order to maintain the usability of older facilities. The new project “Cineteca Nacional XXI Century” aims to generate a new image of the complex by giving it greater relevance in the urban environment and by placing greater importance on green areas. Originally conceived as an exhibition space for the Society of Authors and Composers of Mexico in 1977, the complex Cineteca had not anticipated the 600,000 yearly spectators it now receives. The complex now holds great significance as a space for artists and everyday visitors alike and has become one of the few facilities willing to screen alternative films in the City. The new complex makes itself inviting to all of Mexico City’s denizens and aims to promote social cohesion and cohabitation by bringing esoteric art culture into the public eye.

By preserving its status within the national and international film industry and by promoting film culture within the City, the Cineteca Nacional holds an important place in Mexico City’s global image. Here, many generations band together under their passion for cinema as well as their appreciation for the City’s legacy in film. Furthermore, the complex is host to many exhibitions, special projections, and festivals that maintain the dialogue between Mexico and the global film scene.

Fotografía: cortesía Cineteca Nacional
Fotografía: cortesía Cineteca Nacional

Las salas existentes, así como las nuevas, cuentan con la última tecnología de proyección, dando la bienvenida a todos aquellos que disfruten de actividades culturales así como a aquellos que solo pasen por ahí por casualidad. El nuevo proyecto de la «Cineteca Nacional Siglo XXI» contempla la generación de una nueva imagen para el complejo al tener mayor relevancia en el ambiente urbano y generando convivencia en zonas verdes. El lugar, se ideo originalmente como un espacio para exposiciones para la Sociedad de Autores y Compositores en México en 1977, no tomó en cuenta la asistencia de 600,000 visitantes al año (IMCINE,2011). Como un espacio público que ha estado en construcción durante años debido a que se volvió el único lugar que ofrecía la posibilidad de disfrutar cine alternativo. Sobre esta línea, ahora que el atender a una audiencia es el principal objetivo, se busca que el nuevo edificio promueva que la gente cohabite, lo que genere una experiencia al asistir a un lugar que exalte la industria mexicana del cine y mantenga la diversidad de la industria en general, siendo cuidadosos de mantener la calidad en todas las proyecciones.

Fotografía: cortesía Cineteca Nacional
Fotografía: cortesía Cineteca Nacional

Este recinto cultural de mantiene fiel a su misión original. Preservar la memoria del cine nacional e internacional y promover su cultura en la ciudad, sin importar si se trata de películas de culto o no, la Cineteca Nacional es un lugar muy importante para la historia debido a su apertura y difusión. Las generaciones se unen cobijados por la pasión al cine, y ellos tienen un lugar para apreciar ese legado en la ciudad. Mejor aún, se les ofrece la posibilidad de asistir a exposiciones, proyecciones especiales y festivales abiertos al diálogo con la audiencia lo que algunas veces puede ser algo ajeno a este mundo. La Cineteca ha participado activamente en la creación de un lugar para el séptimo arte en la ciudad.

Project name National Cineteca
Period 1974
Contributor Manuel Rocha, Michel Rojkind (Architects) and the Ministry of Culture & National Comision of Culture (CONACULTA)
Location Avenida México Coyoacán 389, Xoco, 03330 Coyoacan, CDMX