Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Torre Reforma, Mexico City
Featured November 2016
Torre Reforma  was recognized as a "Best Tall Building Americas" Finalist in the 2016 CTBUH Awards Program.
Other Featured Tall Buildings
“The juxtaposition of its diamond-shaped concrete walls with its glass-orientated façade astutely considers its optimal solar orientation.”
James Parakh, Juror, Toronto Planning Department

Completion Date:
245 m (804 ft)
77,053 sq m (829,392 sq ft)
Primary Function:
Fondo Hexa, S.A. de C.V.
LBR&A Architectos
Structural Engineer:
Arup (design); Diseño Integral y Tecnología Aplicada SA de CV (a WSP-Parsons Brinckerhoff Company) (engineer of record)
MEP Engineer:
Arup (design); DYPRO; Garza Maldonado y Asociados; Honeywell; Uribe Ingenieros (engineer of record)
Project Manager:
Lend Lease
Main Contractor:
Lomcci; COREY; Cimentaciones Mexicanas, S.A. de C.V.; HEG Diseño e instalacion S.A. de C.V.
Other Consultants:
Arup (Acoustics); Arup (Façade); Arup (Fire); Arup, TGC (Geotechnical); Arup, CÍVITA (LEED); ERN (Seismic); Arup (Sustainability); Softec, S.C. (Traffic); Van Deusen & Associates (Vertical Transportation); Alan G. Davenport Wind Engineering Group; University of Western Ontario (Wind)

Structural integrity, inventive design, and a nod to heritage converge to form the underpinnings of Torre Reforma’s unequivocal appearance. The tower’s composition rejects traditional notions of the glossy and glassy skyscraper to create a building that is not just structurally expressive but visually distinctive in an original way, placing concrete and steel in harmonic opposition.  Its emphasis on solidity and idiosyncratic design represents a growing trend within Mexico’s skyscraper design ethos.

As Mexico’s tallest building upon completion, Torre Reforma sets a new standard for skyscrapers in the country of 120 million. The tower is located among a row of similarly proportioned, contemporary skyscrapers along Paseo de la Reforma, one of Mexico City’s most active thoroughfares. As a cohort, these towers represent the city’s expanding urban core and continued metropolitan emergence, with Torre Reforma at the apex.

The building‘s size and massing is dictated by a number of constraints associated with its small site, including height limitations, structural contingencies, and an existing heritage building. It is distinguished by its triangular plan; two 245-meter-tall (804-foot-tall) exposed concrete walls, mimicking the orientations of an open book, meet at a 90-degree angle along the north corner of the site. A third glass and metallic diagrid façade acts as a “hypotenuse” for the concrete elevations, extruded outward to facilitate optimal viewing angles of the nearby Chapultepec Park.

The resulting form is a dramatic departure from the traditional all-glass, extruded block high-rise that defines so many skylines around the world. Breaking from this mold has resulted in a versatile, column-free building that incorporates natural energy-reducing elements and a structurally expressive exterior.

View looking up at the glass façade with the preserved heritage building in the foreground

A historic two-story mansion, which was built in the early 20th century and preserved for its ornate architecture, is located at the base of the building, and its presence dictates the geometry and structural design of the tower. The hacienda is integrated directly into the lobby, with its rear portion intersecting with the ground-floor curtain wall. The tower floors above slant outward along their height to hang over the heritage building, a feat made possible by a system of expressive, double-V braces along the glass façade, which tie into the corners of the concrete shear walls. These double-V braces converge at the folded corner of the glass façade, and the arrangement is repeated every four stories. The overall structural scheme of the tower is engineered to withstand high seismic activity.

Typical floor plan
To facilitate construction, the heritage building was actually moved 18 meters (59 feet) away from its original position while foundation work was completed. The house was eventually returned to its original position and restored, where it serves as a transitional element from pedestrian-level scaling at ground level to the high-rise scale above. Additionally, an adjacent street was expanded during construction to provide horizontal public space and pedestrian access to the structure.  

Following the arrangements of the bracing system, the tower is divided into 14 four-story clusters, designed to allow occupants to interact on a smaller scale within the tower. Each cluster features interior triple-height gardens located along the concrete shear walls, which operate as a vertical extension of the horizontal public space at street level. Openings in the shear walls – designed to allow the walls to bend under seismic activity – also provide natural light for to the garden and office spaces within.
View from within an upper-level sky garden

Related Links
CTBUH Skyscraper Center Profile:
Torre Reforma

Torre Reforma was recognized as a "Best Tall Building Americas" Finalist in the 2016 CTBUH Awards Program.