Thursday, January 31, 2013

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

UNAM - Mexico City's largest university sits at the south edge of the metropolitan, a campus for upwards of 250,000 students. The University was built in five years, beginning in 1949, by leading artists and architects including Juan O'Gorman, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Carlos Lazo Barreiro. The campus features the 1968 Olympic Stadiums and a huge amount of open space. It was really pleasant to wander the grounds, to observe the students, and enjoy the beautiful weather. Whoops! I got a sunburn! 

Juan O'Gorman UNAM library

inside of the library

courtyard in the library

passed out architecture students 
open play fields for soccer and pick-up games 
world's thinnest concrete shell

Architecture School

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hacienda Coahuixtla

I am lucky to have experienced this - a site riddled with history, originally a sugar cane and alcohol factory, built in the 1600s and destroyed by the Mexican Revolution fires of 1910. It was a harsh place where workers withstood terrible conditions. It also housed a wealthy family, and a once lavish hacienda stands at the top of the site. Today, the buildings rest and slowly decay. The mayor of the town owns the land, but the people of the area stay to protect it from the government. It holds the legacy of Mexican Revolutionary Emiliano Zapata who grew up nearby, and conquered the factory in his initial adversary against the oppressors and the corrupt. He used Hacienda Coahuixtla as a post for his army. The land is beautiful, the crumbling buildings - even more beautiful. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Concept Review

Our first review in Mexico City! Wahoo - done! 
The site is in the Santa Maria de Rivera neighborhood, and like many of the streets in Mexico, the facades are closed, gated or blocked with metal sliding doors. Some open during business hours but there are many residences which remain closed. It is a most striking characteristic, and you would think, the street would feel unpleasant. But (!!) it feels warm and colorful, and full of life! Street vendors occupy the side walk, they are small or large and pop up everywhere. The weather allows for it, and so does the city ordinance. 
Anyway, I was inspired by this closed characteristic especially in contrast to the public open space which usually is one-square block of park or plaza. The studio project this quarter is largely adaptive reuse, I am intending to keep most of the facade and structure intact. There are many beautiful spaces that exist, and the goal is to emphasize them while overlaying Mexico City's streets and plazas into the building design. 

I am responsible for the portion in red - the grey masks the entirety of the site

Interior street - on site
Large open space - on site

concept sketch - volumes rising - of the earth

ground floor plan - massed program

section cut

interior street - concept 
exterior plaza - concept

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Casa Azul - Frida Kahlo

The house where Frida Kahlo grew up is blue and beautiful. It is filled with her art, clothing, painting supplies, books, cookware, even her bed is there. She is a long time hero of mine. It was such an amazing experience seeing where she grew up, and continued to live part time. Her art portrays her struggle, and a piece of Frida is captured within every work. 


kitchen with many clay pots 
artist studio addition in 1946 to Casa Azul by Juan O'Gorman
Frida's bed with a mirror at the canopy enabling
her to paint while confined to bed-rest

the view from her bed

Diego Rivera

addition by Juan O'Gorman