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Cemex project makes minimal impact on environment

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Cement,

Cemex is taking part in projects that blend with their surroundings and aim to make a minimal impact on the environment, even in the most remote sites and under the most adverse climates. One example of this is La Cueva, an architectural project built in a cross-border private conservation area between Mexico and the US, called El Carmen. The El Carmen reserve includes deserts, grasslands, forests and other ecosystems rich in biodiversity. La Cueva is a 260 m2 property located several miles from civilisation and only just accessible by dirt roads.

90% of the property was built using local materials in a small glen, as part of the land’s natural slope, so it is nearly undetectable from a distance. This concept successfully combines state-of-the-art construction techniques and modern materials, and won first place in the ;Cultural & Educational Building’ category, as well as first place in the ‘Sustainable Building’ category, at the 14th Mexico edition of the Cemex Building Award.

“It was conceived as a refuge within a wild environment. That is why [as our inspiration] we returned to the first places mankind used as protection: caves,” explains Kenji López, head of Greenfield MX, the boutique architectural agency that led this project.

It was built with tamped earth, concrete, stone, steel, and wood as the main elements. These and other materials were sourced from within a 10-kilometer radius.

“The sheets and beams were repurposed from abandoned structures in the region. The walls are made of earth and stones from the area,” explained the civil engineer.

A majority of the supervision of the 200 m2 construction project was performed virtually. Prior planning and logistics were no less complicated because the construction system was reduced, with no room for setbacks or downtime.

The transportation of concrete and other materials from Monterrey, which took four hours by road, was programmed months in advance, after which a team of 20 workers travelled to the reserve, where they lived for three weeks.

Greenfield MX confirms that this project represented an incredible learning experience and opportunity. It is truly unique to create a sustainable refuge on virgin territory.

Adapted from press release by

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