ArchitectureDesignSuccess stories

Simon Architecture Prize 2022 – winner of the #CollectivePlaces category

Property: Kithara Music Public Kiosk

Place: Mexico City

Design: TO studio

Photos: Jaime Navarro

Kithara Music Public Kiosk is a music kiosk located on the outskirts of Mexico City in an area in Iztapalapa that is called Yuguelito. There are high rates of violence, poor soil quality and water scarcity. In addition, it is located on a former landfill of rubble, which remained in the area after a large earthquake that took place in 1985. The creation of a residential district in such a place is a collective action of the local community, which democratically donated a square plot with a side of 7 meters for the project of a music kiosk.
The beginnings of the project date back to 2015. It was then that a group of musicians came to the area, teaching the local community how to play the guitar, without charging for it, and gathering around them a large group of people of various ages. The Kitara (Spanish for ‘guitar’) project was chosen to create a friendly classroom. Its first stage was a design studio workshop with local guitar students who drew a dream music school. Based on the sketches, the socially consulted project Kithara Music Public Kiosk was created. It took another 5 years to find funding. Ultimately, it was decided to use community-contributed and recycled materials. It is red brick, cement blocks, volcanic stone and red stone. Construction was done by local people.



The brick vault collects rainwater, and the wooden base ensures good acoustics. The distribution of internal spaces is symbolic. The upstairs room is oriented towards the Xaltocan Volcano, while the downstairs room is slanted towards the two streets, opening up to the city and creating events for the local community.


Kithara Music Public Kiosk is a building built for the community by the community. It is a living object that constantly expands its original purpose. Theatrical performances, concerts and social meetings have already taken place here. The building strengthens local networks of mutual support and brings people together.