Patio de las Jacarandas at Aguascalientes, Mexico

Situated at the historic Plaza de la Patria in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the Patio de las Jacarandas is an architectural open-air canopy. Zahner worked with artist Jan Hendrix whose concept included a perforated metal canopy. Developed by architects Arturo Revilla and Jose Luis Jimenez Garcia, Zahner’s scope on the project centered around the engineering and fabrication of the art canopy.

The system was engineered and tested by Zahner, and then manufactured and delivered to the jobsite where local installers erected the screen wall. The project was completed in 2015, and features a two-tiered canopy of water jet-cut aluminum plates. Both layers of cut-out metal are painted to create the white ¼” aluminum plate.

The two layers are designed to evoke the jacaranda tree. This was selected as a motif by the artist due to its prevalence in the City and its region at large. Numerous jacarandas are planted in parks and public areas across the City of Aguascalientes. Their blooms are heralded as a symbol of the beginning of the spring season.

Canopy Filtered Shading with Diaphanous Light

Two layers of waterjet cut artwork make up the roof of the Aguascalientes canopy. The first layer, suspended on the bottom of the canopy, shows the overlapping branches of the jacaranda tree. The second layer of cutout leaves is installed 16” above the lower ceiling canopy.

These two layers are held apart from one another using tension cables. The distance between each layer gives the illusion of peering through tree branches. Intriguing shadows are also created, offering an immersive, shaded area for pedestrians in the city square to rest beneath.

The Patio de las Jacarandas provides a place to gather in Aguascalientes.
The Patio de las Jacarandas provides a place to gather in Aguascalientes.
The Patio de las Jacarandas provides a place to gather in Aguascalientes.
The Patio de las Jacarandas provides a place to gather in Aguascalientes.
The Jan Hendrix canopy mirrors the surrounding plant life at Aguascalientes.
The Jan Hendrix canopy mirrors the surrounding plant life at Aguascalientes.
Overhead view of the Aguascalientes project.
Overhead view of the Aguascalientes project.
Patio de las Jacarandas in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Creating the Cut Plate Material

To accommodate the intricate lines, the artwork is fairly thin in some areas, ¼” aluminum plate was used to water jet-cut the desired pattern. Using plate material gives extra support for artwork, and keeps delicate lines from bending or becoming misshapen as the public interacts with the art.

Jan Hendrix supplied Zahner with models, sketches, and finished drawings of the artwork. Zahner team of design engineers translated the artwork into files for manufacturing and cutting the metal shapes out of the aluminum plate. After the cutting process was completed, the panels and structural components were painted white and sent to the job site in Mexico for installation.

Zahner fabricators pre-assemble the Hendrix-designed canopy in Kansas City.
Zahner fabricators pre-assemble the Hendrix-designed canopy in Kansas City.
Jan Hendrix model for the Patio de las Jacarandas canopy.
Jan Hendrix model for the Patio de las Jacarandas canopy.

Unique Column Design for Patio de Las Jacarandas

At the north end of the patio canopy, Jan Hendrix’s design extends down from the upper canopy into the gathering space, in the form of a perforated column. Although the surface appears as though it encases a structural support, the column is hollow with no enclosed structural support.

While the canopy depicts the leaves and branches of the jacaranda tree, the column shows the profile of their famous blooms. In this manner, the patio shows the entire lifespan for the blooms of the jacaranda through all four seasons.

This concept is further reinforced by the planting of several new jacaranda trees at the center of the patio. Throughout the years as the Patio de las Jacarandas sees further community interaction, the trees will continue to grow new blossoms each spring, creating a more impressive show each year.

Patio de las Jacarandas
Patio de las Jacarandas
Patio de las Jacarandas
At the northern corner of the project, a plate aluminum column cuts through the canopy.
At the northern corner of the project, a plate aluminum column cuts through the canopy.

The column system was assembled in three separate panels, which align together with such precision that the seams become nearly invisible. Panels on the upper canopy also translate the design without the visual appearance of seams.

To create this seamless look, Zahner examines the pattern’s parametric relationship, mapping out individual elements as they relate to the entire design. This way, lines and patterns can cross between various panels without being interrupted by ‘picture frame’ edges. This technology is used across the entire project, so that the construction methods do not become distracting to the artist’s design.

Opening gala event for the Patio de las Jacarandas in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Opening gala event for the Patio de las Jacarandas in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Opening Ceremony for the Patio de las Jacarandas

The opening ceremony took place during the Summer of 2015, and was attended by The Governor of Aguascalientes, Carlos Lozano de la Torre and his wife Blanca Rivera Rio Flores. The two were influential in bringing the project to the State of Aguascalientes.

Jan Hendrix, pictured with Governor Carlos Lozano de la Torre and his wife Blanca Rivera Rio Flores at the opening.
Jan Hendrix, pictured with Governor Carlos Lozano de la Torre and his wife Blanca Rivera Rio Flores at the opening.
Opening gala event for the Patio de las Jacarandas in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Opening gala event for the Patio de las Jacarandas in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Sunlight filters through the Jan Hendrix-designed canopy at Aguascalientes.
Sunlight filters through the Jan Hendrix-designed canopy at Aguascalientes.
Ground level fountain accents the canopy design at Aguascalientes.
Ground level fountain accents the canopy design at Aguascalientes.
Perforated metal canopy casts shadows at Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Perforated metal canopy casts shadows at Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Patio de las Jacarandas, Aguascalientes, Mexico.

After the project was completed, Jan Hendrix was honored at the opening ceremony at the Patio de las Jacarandas. As an artist of renown who has moved into the architectural world, Hendrix has translated his works on paper into physical manifestations for communities all over the world.

Zahner has completed over a dozen works for Jan Hendrix, which are located in city centers and private collections around the globe.