Rojkind Arquitectos is Transforming Mexico City, One Whimsical Building at a Time

By William Lamb
A firm with a daring sense of creativity puts its stamp on Mexico City.

In Mexico City’s increasingly crowded and vibrant design scene, Michel Rojkind and Gerardo Salinas stand apart. 

Michel Rojkind and Gerardo Salinas of Rojkind Arquitectos expanded and upgraded Mexico City’s Cineteca Nacional in 2012.

Michel Rojkind and Gerardo Salinas of Rojkind Arquitectos expanded and upgraded Mexico City’s Cineteca Nacional in 2012.

For starters, Rojkind is a rock star in the most literal sense of the term, having traded a gig drumming for one of Mexico’s most popular bands of the 1990s for an uncertain future as an architect. And then there is the extent to which Rojkind Arquitectos—the firm he founded in 2002 and has run since 2010 alongside Salinas—has managed to impose a sense of order in pockets of the famously crowded and cacophonous Mexican capital. 

Join the Daily Dose Mailing List

Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design

They consolidating surface parking in a new garage and uniting the campus with a canopy whose composite-aluminum skin is dappled with triangular perforations.

They consolidating surface parking in a new garage and uniting the campus with a canopy whose composite-aluminum skin is dappled with triangular perforations.

It’s this element that has distinguished Rojkind and Salinas from their peers and positioned them in the vanguard of a new generation of Mexican architects. Stepping in where haphazard urban planning efforts have fallen short, they nudge their private and municipal clients beyond the project brief, convincing them of the value of contributing something extra to the community. Many of the whimsical, boldly colorful structures that have become the firm’s stock-in-trade include touches—a park, for instance, or an interactive facade—intended to make up for a lack of public space or to promote street life.

Commissioned by Nestlé to build a ramp to give children a look inside its factory near Toluca, Rojkind convinced the company to add a chocolate museum—Mexico’s first—to the brief.

Commissioned by Nestlé to build a ramp to give children a look inside its factory near Toluca, Rojkind convinced the company to add a chocolate museum—Mexico’s first—to the brief.

"For us, chaos comes with opportunities," says Rojkind, whose pierced right eyebrow and wardrobe of skinny jeans testify to his rock ‘n’ roll past. "You’re always challenged on the things you can solve, even from walking down the street and seeing that maybe infrastructure can change, or walking in the park and seeing that the park can also be improved. All these little things become important to how cities are built up."

The resulting building, its angular form inspired by Japanese origami—was designed and built in two and a half months in early 2007.

The resulting building, its angular form inspired by Japanese origami—was designed and built in two and a half months in early 2007.