As AN previously reported, a cost-saving replacement to Foster + Partners’ $13 billion vision broke ground in June at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base located 29 miles outside the city center. No architect was named at the time and since then, construction hasn’t actually started. In fact, it’s been suspended on numerous occasions by a local judge until just yesterday when the green light was given to start work.
Despite the stall, news has broken that González-Pulido was invited by the federal government without bidding to collaborate on the airport project given his extensive background designing terminals in Bangkok, Chicago, and Munich. An investigation by national publication Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) discovered that the Mexican-American architect was involved, but could only confirm that he was an advisor, not specifically the architect of record. González-Pulido only suggested that his design for the airbase would be “energetic, functional, an emblem with which Mexicans identify, very technological and sustainable.”
When Norman Foster’s design for NAICM (Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México) in Texcoco was canceled last fall, Mexico’s new president Andres Manual Lopez Obrador handed the project over to the Ministry of Defense (Sedena), who selected the Santa Lucía as the site for a $3.8 billion Felipe Ángeles Airport. The largely-rural area, some have said, could become an airport city. But the new terminal wouldn’t be centered around commercial air travel like the former plans in Texcoco. Instead, it might be used to receive flights from low-cost airlines and freights from cargo companies.
Other national news outlets have reported that González-Pulido, who participated in the original NACIM competition in 2014—then as president of Helmut Jahn’s firm, will create the final design for the Felipe Ángeles Airport. But so far, no renderings have been revealed. According to MCCI, plans submitted for the environmental permits seemed to have been done by engineer José Mariá Riobóo, a former campaign adviser to the president.
AN has reached out to Francisco González-Pulido for comment and will update this article accordingly.