Plaza Mercado Rio Piedras
San Juan, Puerto Rico - 1999
The Rio Piedras Market Place is the largest and most important public market in Puerto Rico. The building has two main levels, an area of approximately two hundred and eightyfive thousand (285,000) square feet on a site of approx. fifteen thousand (15,000) square meters and located on the northern side of Rio Piedras’ urban core. In spite of the original building’s functional and symbolic importance, its previous condition had major flaws that made its intense institutional use ineffective.
With minimalist interventions in form, but radical in content, the design aimed at augmenting the building’s potential as an urban public space while exploiting the potential of our tropical and Caribbean conditions. In this line of thought, an all jalousie facade was installed to neutralize the visual chaos that existed in the area.
The planning included the connection to the Paseo de Diego (a busy commercial and pedestrian street) with Robles St. which provides the best access between the building’s rear entrance and the University of Puerto Rico's Rio Piedras Campus. An emphasis was given to natural light through the use of multiple conical skylights which perforate the eight (8) vaults that roof the main space. An interior courtyard was created and roofed with a green skylight (El Platanal) designed by a local sculptor.