If there's one architect in Mexico who deserves the title of the plastic industry's friend, it's Juan Jose Díaz Infante NuÃ±ez.
Now 72, he has designed some of the country's most eye-catching buildings in recent decades.
They include the Mexican capital's stock exchange building on the main Paseo de la Reforma, opened in 1990, and the TAPO intercity bus station in downtown Mexico City.
But Díaz Infante no longer describes himself as an architect. Rather, he said in an interview, he's a ``designer of space and systems,'' in which plastic has a major role.
``Plastic is energy economy,'' he said.
His plastics-dominated designs include the Hotel Emporio (since demolished) in Mexico City. Ninety percent of the walls, beds, chairs, lamps and bathroom furniture were made of plastic.
Similar plastic usage was applied to a house he developed in the Mexican state of Durango, an observatory in the city of Tijuana and 4,500 houses designed for, and sold to, Saudi Arabia.
The stock exchange and TAPO buildings contained little or no plastic, he conceded.
His own abode in Mexico City stands five or six stories above the tree-lined streets of the Colonia Condesa neighborhood and soars into the sky in the form of Díaz Infante's idea of a cosmic hotel.
Constructed primarily of tubular steel and glass but with many of the fittings, such as wash basins and toilets, made of plastic, it would, if commissioned, comprise a large number of rotational molded spheres.
Díaz Infante, who refuses to drive an automobile in the Mexican capital, claiming that cars in a city are ``anti-social,'' calls the project Kalikosmia or ``house of the universe.''
A minimal amount of building materials is employed, a reflection of his dislike of columns and walls, developed on three around-the-world trips to study the interiors and exteriors of all kinds of buildings.
A founder and director of the Anahuac University's school of architecture in Mexico City and a consultant for the country's National Association of Plastics Industries, he has been a member of the Houston-based Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture for many years.
He believes astronauts are ``the new saints who sacrifice their bodies for the sake of humanity.''
Díaz Infante is convinced that architects, whether they are designing projects for outer space or for planet Earth, have to adopt not only new building materials that weigh less but new ways of building, including prefabrication.
``A fractal system [of construction], demanded in the 21st century, is near,'' he said.