Somewhat hidden within a 6.4-acre botanic garden in Mexico City’s Santa Marîa la Ribera district, an abandoned factory was transformed into as a vast greenhouse garden filled with aromatic native plants.
Created as part of an urban ecological regeneration effort in collaboration with, the UNAM botanical garden, the over 28,000 foot (26,000 square meters) garden contains 60,000 species of native Mexican flora including specimens of 168 species of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Roots and Rust
Nature has rusted the steel inside and out of the massive factory’s structure, and inside a myriad of flora species continue to flourish, winding up and around the interior stairwells, at times climbing over grated platforms and into the spaces of the woven metal ceiling below the glass roof.
Inside, soft living vegetation takes over and thrives within the human-made cold industrial structure.
An indoor stream appears to spill out into an area of water at the building’s edge, eventually flowing into a body of water in the host landscape.
Previously open to the public, visitors can no longer enter into the greenhouse but there is a possible plan in the works to revive it, fill it with books, and integrate it with the library and garden to create an indoor-outdoor reading and studying space enveloped by nature.
Visitors to the botanical gardens can benefit from much needed quiet green space as they meander the winding paths to circulate around a landscape peppered with stone walls, concrete garden spheres and seating.
The library’s rooftop is also covered in vegetation and serves to insulate and protect the buildings below.
All images: Public Library Greenhouse / TAX-Alberto Kalach 2004, Mexico City