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WorkSamples Mario Sรกenz

Architectural Design

Sustainability City View






Green Spaces





Irregular topography is one of Tijuana’s greatest characteristics, and at 550 meters above sea level, the Colorado Mountain is the highest point in the city. Such height offers a dramatic panoramic view of the city, making it an ideal gathering place for Tijuana locals: it creates a physical social platform in an idyllic spot. The project’s commitment to sustainable and recyclable materials encourages Tijuanenses to incorporate more recyclable materials into their own daily lives and to ultimately make Tijuana a greener city.

Tijuana City View

Souvenir Shop



Monument Chapel



Lobby Offices



Tijuana City View was conceived in collaboration with two other students (Georgina Muùoz and Sara Diaz) in Eugenio Velasquez’s design seminar. Numerous on-site studies focused on seamlessly integrating the architectural and landscape design with the topography. The resulting design showcases the impressive city view and interdependent relationship between its interior and exterior.

Sustainability is the focus in this project, utilizing recycled shipping containers to reduce construction-related CO2 emissions. An untapped resource in Tijuana, sustainable materials may significantly contribute to lowering the city’s pollution levels. This project spearheads the introduction of sustainable materials into the city’s consciousness.




Exhibition Gallery This project expands the aesthetic possibilities of recycled shipping containers: the beveled shell of the containers encloses its visitors, but the upward path encourages mobility. Walking upward, art on the walls invites contemplation, and light perforations hint at impending expansion. Suddenly, the twisting path opens upon a vista of the city, dissolving the previous feeling of closeness into immediate and wide openness. This lively implementation of containers shows its visitors that recyclable materials can be both functional and aesthetic, opening a discourse and encouraging Tijuana’s citizens to consider the benefits of unconventional materials.


Integral Weave of Schools in Rural Communities with Self-Sufficient Resources TIERRA originally developed to solve problems for rural elementary schools in Baja California. Many of these schools have limited resources and are unable to provide adequate education, and TIERRA provides the necessary resources through intelligent design. The school showcased here, José Maria Pino Suarez Elementary, is located in a rural village outside Rosarito. In Summer 2010, Aaron Gutiérrez, Yara Amparo López, David Castillo, and a dedicated team of students from the Universidad Iberoamericana began prototyping renovations for the elementary school. TIERRA is affiliated with Amorphica Design Research Office.

In this school, TIERRA focuses on designing a central hub, the multipurpose room, to create a gathering space for students. Before the intervention, no area existed for students to gather and socialize; it was an isolated environment. The multipurpose room is a flexible space for a multitude of activities: a cafeteria, kitchen, library, reading room, or any function in which students converge.

Ground Floor

First Floor

Detail of Stair Structure

Structural Detail of Joint




FECH 18.1

NUME 157





















Shown here are the renders and diagrams my particular team contributed. The diagrams analyze the site in both two and three dimensions and search for ways to improve the design. Paired with the renders and virtual animations, they present TIERRA’s design to interested parties. Also shown are construction documents, involving detailed architectural and structural plans.






FECHA_ 18.10.2010


Mario Saenz

FECHA_ NUMERO DE PROYECTO_ 18.10.2010 157 _E.P.J.M.P.S.


Mario Saenz






PROTEI: An open-source sailing drone originally inspired to clean the 2010 BP oil spill. A flexible yet durable chassis is the priority in this drone prototype, and multiple sails increase the pulling power on sharp turns against the wind. Soda bottles form the chassis envelope: they are buoyant, strong, flexible, durable, inexpensive, and counterbalance the drone with their flexible weight storage. PVC pipes make the structural skeleton: they behave similarly to an animal skeleton with their flexible inner structure and great turning strength.

Project Design Team within Amorphica Design: Aaron GutiĂŠrrez, Mario SĂĄenz, Julia Cerrud, alongside Cesar Harada, founder of Protei. For more information visit:

Protei is a technology currently in development that features: - Unmanned: no humans exposed to toxic elements. - Green and inexpensive: sails upwind, captures oil downwind. - Self-righting: rugged, can operate in hurricanes. - Semi-autonomous: can swarm continuously for great distances.

Inspiration design analog

This second prototype implements a vertical wind turbine connected directly to a propeller, increasing its pulling power. It generates electricity for all hardware within the drone, giving it a longer range without human assistance. Two buoys at each side of the chassis increase stability and form an axial turning point, strengthening turns against the wind.

Propeller increases pulling power

Gear ensemble connects vertical turbine with propeller

Tectonic Landscapes

This park design manipulates layers of artificial topographies to digitally mould a sitespecific architectural space. Initial diagrams generated a series of control points and lines into vertical strata. By adding different layers of information to the diagrams – irrigation, solar exposure, water requirements, pedestrian access, etc. – the ground accrues local intelligence specific to its landscape needs and establishes the overall landscape schema for the park. Aesthetically, the hardness of concrete enhances and complements the softness of nature. The project thus evolves from a twodimensional existing ground-scape into a three-dimensional model as the control points vertically shift the tectonic-like ground, and the landscape ultimately acquires thickness.

Capital H I M Spatial strategy highlights the architectural properties in this retail store delivered by Nicola Formichetti’s DNA throughout Rick Genest and Lady Gaga’s œuvre: their edge and glory. The project utilizes such matter to inform its design qualities: alienated, urban, volumetric, sacred and whimsical.

A theoretical matrix translates Formichetti’s work onto spatial conditions. The diagram begins to branch and overlap such spatial properties to generate a novel architectural edge. Therefore, through the abundance of potential scenarios, the project builds up a series of hybrid architectural qualities.

The network of theoretical connections meshed with the space of the given site generates the three-dimensional space, allowing a series of algorithmic points and lines to give birth to form. An infinite simulation of virtual connections are then narrowed down to its final morphological product: capital H I M.

Physical Model


Car Showroom, Coahuila, Mexico, 2011 Through geometric form-finding, specific materialization, and manufacturing logic, this project generates a flexible spatial strategy which responds to multiple contextual needs, resulting in a dynamic and nonstandard building. In the conceptual stage of the design process, a set of frame conditions defined and generated the various apertures which became the façade system. A programmatic louver system controls the building’s interior performance and efficiency, capitalizing on the sun’s dynamic capabilities with light, shade, temperature control, and mood. The intelligent system naturally keeps the interior at a breathable, comfortable temperature; it opens as necessary for solar warmth and circulates the cool breeze. Sunlight dynamizes the floor with moving patterns, affecting the room’s ambiance and keeping it in constant flux.

Facade System



Design intent emerges through an interactive skin configured by triangular surfaces proliferated within the given site. The spatial strategy does not reveal itself at first sight, but unfolds through encounter and engagement.

Interfacing Reliefs is the conceptual design for an international high school by [Ay]Architects; it embraces the existing topography while mediating local extreme climate conditions.

Interfacing Reliefs

A series of topographic ribbons defines the strategy, generating natural wind-corridors and sunlight to avoid direct sun exposure. The affordable scheme is based on a grid-like figure ground which responds programmatically and functionally to a high school’s requirements. The landscape absorbs the daylight heat using pockets of vegetation and greenery, moderating the area’s usually high temperatures and turning the high school into a temperate microclimate.

Grad / Arch / Design


The design school forms part of the Tec de Monterrey, Campus Sonora Norte. The conceptual design generates a cohesive relationship with the existing buildings while embracing the topography and mediating the climate conditions of the site. The project develops an earthbound design by adjusting the building to the topography of the terrain. Initial diagrams on the project established a series of control points and lines to organize a louver system. Each louver acquires local intelligence by responding to solar exposure and air flow circulation, increasing the environmental performance of the building.



Arch School

The project connects with the existing buildings through a smooth upward gradient slope, playing off of the topography’s natural decline. A path leads down to the botanical gardens, from where the true power of the grandiose building emerges.

The Arch School is divided into two playful interactive bodies connected by a corridor. Its glass façade opens onto grand views of the surrounding nature, echoing the distant mountains. Similar to the Design School, an organizational louver system harnesses solar power and improves air circulation, augmenting the natural performance of the building.

The Grad School plays a principal role in the new master plan for the Tec de Monterrey. The project’s spatial organization highlights the architectural program, embraces natural air circulation, and emphasizes the interior spatial flow with the exterior’s multifunctional landscape. The architecture replenishes the landscape by providing it with the water and energy needed for irrigation.

Grad School

The terraced landscape absorbs the daylight heat with pockets of vegetation and greenery and displays a picturesque flexible space. Initial digital mapping and diagramming of the site informed the ground organization to maximize each plant’s contribution.

Structure Structural design begins with programmatic development columns which fluctuate parametrically with the building.


staff ofices

Third Floor

Second Floor

storage services auditorium

Facade System

comp. room

The facade structural system encloses the school’s interior spaces while minimizing visual interruptions and a maximizing a dynamic glass flow.

adm. ofices

First Floor

open spaces circulation laboratories cafeteria

Glass Solar Panels Insulated glazing windows reduce heat and acoustic transfer across the building’s envelope.

Ground Floor

The Design School is based on a physical grid which responds directly to the needs of the Grad School. Extracted data generates the material infrastructure to the building’s particular specifications. The building absorbs heat, creates energy and mediates air flow, and it retains and filters water for plumbing before irrigating the landscape.


work sample

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