"Earthscraper" would bury a 65-story pyramid below Mexico City's Zocalo plaza

The ambitious plan has captured imaginations worldwide. It would excavate the Mexican Capital's historic Zocalo plaza and build an upside-down, underground skyscraper.

Faced with local regulations banning skyscrapers, a Mexico City architect wants instead to build a 65-story pyramid at the center of Mexico’s religious and cultural hub.

And bury it.

The plaza today

Edwardo Suarez of the prestigious Mexico City architectural firm BNKR Arquitectura wants to burrow under the Mexican capital’s most famous square, the historic Zócalo — Mexico City’s Plaza de la Constitución — and highlight Mexico’s rich Aztec and Christian heritages with a 10-story underground museum, which would include new archeological discoveries unearthed in the excavation process. Then the 55 stories beneath the museum would be retail, office and even living space — ringed with garden terraces.

The Zócalo was built 500 years ago shortly after the Spanish conquest. After the destruction of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, Hernan Cortés destroyed the central pyramid where he witnessed scores of human sacrifices — in which prisoners of war were hauled to the top of the Templo Mayor and their living hearts were cut from their chests, their bodies tossed down the steps. Horrified, Cortés banned the practice, had the pyramid razed to the ground, with its stones paved today’s plaze and built a Catholic church which today is Mexico’s National Cathedral.


Around the Zócalo today, portions of the Templo Mayor have been restored. Facing the plaza is the National Palace — Mexico’s seat of government. For half a millenium, the Zócalo has been the site of the swearing in of viceroys and presidents, as well as the setting for

national proclamations, military parades and historic ceremonies. It is here that Mexico receives foreign heads of state — and where in times of discontent, crowds gather to protest.

The proposal is to dig out the center of the 188,976-square-foot Zócalo, and burrow down almost 1,000 feet.

“A team of Mexican architects have designed a 65-story glass and steel pyramid to sit in the middle of Mexico City’s most historic plaza. But, if it ever gets built, you won’t see it anywhere on the skyline,” reports CNN’s George Webster. “If built, the 65-story ‘Earthscraper’ would plunge 300 meters into the ground.”

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Rob Kerby
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