Register: MAR/19/2018, Submit: APR/06/2018, Eligibility: Architects from the Americas; individually, teams (architects, engineers, designers, economists), team leader must be a qualified architect, Fee: Free, Awards: 2 prizes 20,000 USD each, 1 mention 10,000 USD, Honorable Mentions
The International Ideas Competition: “Mercado Modelo Montevideo. Thinking the city for the 21st century” aims to expand the planning options for an area located in the barycenter of the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. Mercado Modelo Montevideo (Model Market of Montevideo), whose main building has an area of 25,000 m² and Art Deco references, has operated as the most important wholesale produce market for fruits and vegetables in the country since 1937. As this is a dynamic activity, it has had a significant influence on the urban evolution of this area of the city.
Considering the changes that have taken place in the territory and in marketing dynamics, the IDM or Government of Montevideo (“Intendencia de Montevideo” in Spanish) has decided to transfer the operation of Mercado Modelo to a new wholesale and distribution center in La Tablada, in the northwest of the city. This center will be managed by the UAM – Produce Hub of Montevideo (“Unidad Alimentaria de Montevideo” in Spanish): the non-state public entity created under Law No. 18.832 of October 18, 2011. Other related wholesale businesses located near the market have also decided to move to the new location. The transfer of these activities entails a historic opportunity to think about the future of the urban sector where Mercado Modelo is located, the related projects and the surrounding areas, both regarding their large urban structures, public spaces, residential networks, facilities and services, their extraordinary potential for transformation and also the conservation of their tangible and intangible heritage.
Montevideo is the capital of the Republic of Uruguay and the southernmost capital in the Americas. Although Uruguay has an open agenda of social and territorial challenges, it is one of the most egalitarian countries in Latin America.
Montevideo is the main city of the country, with almost 1,300,000 inhabitants within departmental borders. This figure reaches about 2,000,000 inhabitants if we consider its metropolitan area. Its demographic growth is contained, although there have been major transformations within the city.
It is a coastal city, with a very large urban area. The prevailing morphology is characterized by a low density and height of buildings. Its urban fabric is structured by a system of large avenues and smaller roads used locally. High-rise buildings appear mainly in the center of the city, on some coastal districts, and on a number of avenues and new hubs. The city has a history of good urban quality, and nowadays its territorial development is guided by the POT or Montevideo Plan (“Plan Montevideo” in Spanish).
The architecture of Montevideo has quality creations such as its large parks dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Rambla Sur, an extraordinary set of modern buildings erected between 1920 and 1960, the experience of Social Housing Cooperatives, different projects developed by engineer Eladio Dieste in reinforced ceramic and multiple facilities and unique buildings in recent decades. To reflect on its importance we must remember that several of them (the Rambla Sur, Modern Architecture and Dieste) have been included in the Tentative World Heritage List of UNESCO.
ABOUT MERCADO MODELO
The city has had several wholesale produce markets throughout its history.
Mercado Modelo was projected in the 1930s in a former wasteland on the outskirts of Montevideo in order to replace the old Agricultural Market located in the area of Goes. It was conceived as a wholesale market for the sale of fruits and vegetables. It is the main supply center for retailers who buy products in bulk, which are then sold directly to consumers.
The main building of Mercado Modelo has an approximate area of 25,000 m², and is built within a land lot of almost three hectares. It was conceived as a building facing the Northeast, with its longest side running parallel to Caminos de los Propios (currently Batlle y Ordóñez Boulevard). It has a steel structure. Its interior is organized by a central “street” and by side loading and unloading areas, with long spans and several complementary paths. These paths have exits that lead to the surrounding streets. It is a monumental building, with a main façade that includes an access gate over twenty meters high, with Art Deco reminiscences which are brought together by this large industrial aisle. It includes a large underground area. The project was developed by architect Gualberto Rodríguez Larreta, and architect Leopoldo Tosi was in charge of its structure. The company Bello & Reborati was in charge of the construction. The market opened in 1937. The building is not protected as heritage, although it does have testimonial and symbolic value for the neighborhood and for citizens, with its access portico being the most outstanding construction feature.
Other light constructions were added in the vicinity of this main building over the years, as well as multiple small premises. This is how a complex of open-air buildings owned by the Government of Montevideo was created, with a total area of almost 56,000 m².
Furthermore, private related activities were added, such as cold chambers, agricultural inputs and banking institutions, each with their own construction. They include a building constructed by Eladio Dieste, located on the north sidewalk of José Batlle y Ordóñez Boulevard, between Thompson and Cádiz streets.
The intense activity of trucks and other vehicles, which load and unload products at night and in the morning, make this a special area in the city.
This area, with somewhat blurred borders, is known as Mercado Modelo. It is bordered by residential neighborhoods where middle and working class people live.
The Government of Montevideo has planned to transfer the Mercado Modelo activities to the produce hub located to the northwest of the city, in the area of La Tablada. The bidding process for its implementation is currently under way, which is estimated to take between two and three years.