Luis Manovel+Enrique Flores
The school of corn: a cultural rootedness, a transformation of heritage.
Corn and Mexico are one. Corn is a fundamental part of Mexican culture, the core of its diet and the main axis of its history. The agricultural history of Mexico has endowed the territory with countless constructions as vestiges of a predominant agricultural world over the centuries. One of these remains is the silos of Conasupo. The Compañía Nacional de Subsistencias Populares (CONASUPO) was a Mexican parastatal company dedicated to the agricultural world that from the 1960s carried out the construction of 3620 silos in 1108 Mexican localities. The silos appeared all over the country. Their conical shape makes them unique and recognizable in the landscape of Mexican corn territory.The rural exodus has resulted in the abandonment of many of these silos. These buildings are now an opportunity, they will be reused and adapted to host the new program. Sustainability is the starting point of a project that takes the pre-existence of Los Conos, Zacatecas, but that will serve as a model for a network of corn schools that can be spread throughout the country.
CONASUPO cones have a massive architecture, built in stone and climatically very effective as it allows a great thermal insulation at the same time as a constant air circulation. The volumetric modifications proposed depend on the program to be inserted in each case. Some perforations seek to give the interior space of the cones more luminosity while others allow a better circulation of air or people through the cone. The materialization of these perforations is transformed into simple and discreet metal frames that seek to go unnoticed and give importance to the pre-existing stone materiality.
Corn cones is an educational project that is based on integrating a semester in a productive cycle of corn. From the last nights of frost, to its harvest and subsequent treatment, the corn school will train the man who returns to the countryside on two fundamental issues. The first, in the physical realm, in materiality. This will lead the students to sow and harvest the corn with their own hands, to shelling it and then working it. Understanding in this way the complete life cycle of corn and merging physically with a tradition and a way of doing ancestral and closely linked to Mexican culture. Secondly, a more theoretical and technological education will be developed that will equip students with the necessary tools to enable them, after the semester, to carry out their farms in an efficient and sustainable manner.
Existing clusters of cones make it possible to divide between them the programs needed for the corn school. In this way, each cone individually hosts a part of the corn process: drying, stripping and cleaning, grinding and storage. In addition, the functions of a school that gives students theoretical knowledge are also programmed: classrooms, library, dining room… Cones of corn will be a school for the future, rooted and identified with the land and corn that was the origin of the Mexican people.