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Condemned to be Modern: Inside Mexico’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

Mexico’s pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale is centered on Octavio Paz’s reflections on the contraposition between tradition and modernity. Echoing the request from Rem Koolhaas that the national pavilions focus on the theme Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Paz’s writings establish that “…modernity, for the last one hundred years has been our style. It is the universal style. Wanting to be modern seems like madness, we are condemned to be modern.”

Architects Julio Gaeta and Luby Springall use this reflection as the starting point for their curatorial project, designing the pavilion to show two story paths: one traditional and one modern. This concept is executed through the selection of works emblematic of Mexican modernity juxtaposed with works, events and interviews that influence architecture.

Check out photos from the pavilion along with the official text from the curators after the break.

© Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh

Terrace-House in El Limón / Villar Watty Arquitectos

  • Architects: Villar Watty Arquitectos
  • Location: Jalisco, Mexico
  • Project Architects: Gerardo Villar Watty y Alberto Villar Watty
  • Design Team: Daniel Villanueva, Paola García
  • Project Area: 263.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photography: Diego Serratos

© Diego Serratos © Diego Serratos © Diego Serratos © Diego Serratos

Puerto Vallarta Seafront / Trama Arquitectos

© Alejandro Cartagena
© Alejandro Cartagena
  • Architects: Trama Arquitectos
  • Location: Puerto Vallarta, JAL, Mexico
  • Architect In Charge: Jaime Castiello, Héctor Santana, Edgardo Sandoval y Carlos Haro
  • Co Workers: Livier Miramontes, Manuel Haro, Carmen Espinosa, Jorge Ignacio Gutiérrez, Jaime Castiello Gómez Verea, Fernando Castiello, Carlos Rodríguez, Miguel Martínez, Héctor Lozano, Beatriz Orozco, Mario Rodríguez, Hugo Yáñez, Susana Cortés, Juan Carlos Barriga
  • Landscape: West8 urban design & landscape architecture + Estudio 3.14
  • Urban Furniture: West8 urban design & Estudio 3.14
  • Structural: Constructora Cautín S.A. de C.V., Ing. Roberto Dávalos
  • Construction: Géminis Internacional S.A. de C.V., Vifeg S.A. de C.V. y Duo S.A de C.V
  • Area: 20000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Alejandro Cartagena

© Alejandro Cartagena © Alejandro Cartagena © Alejandro Cartagena © Alejandro Cartagena

Zacatitos 04 / Campos Leckie Studio

© John Sinal © John Sinal © John Sinal © John Sinal

Primaria Nuevo Continente / Miguel Montor

  • Architects: Miguel Montor
  • Location: Zaragoza 61, Colonia la Capilla, 76176 Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico
  • Area: 2500.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Onnis Luque

© Onnis Luque © Onnis Luque © Onnis Luque © Onnis Luque

Pre-School Building / Miguel Montor

© Moritz Bernoully © Onnis Luque © Onnis Luque © Onnis Luque

Mexico's 2014 Public Interest Design Award Winners

Effective, excellent, inclusive, impactful, systematic, and participatory - these were the six criteria jurors considered when selecting the winners of this year's Public Interest Design Mexico Awards. On September 11th and 12th in Mexico City, the six winning projects will be presented to the public. To learn more about these exemplary projects that serve the public realm, keep reading after the break.

Campos Leckie Studio: Adapting Materials Across Contexts

In the following interview, presented by ArchDaily Materials and originally published by Sixty7 Architecture Road, Canadian firm Campos Leckie Studio defines their process for designing site-specific, beautiful architecture that speaks for itself. Enjoy the firm's stunning projects and read the full interview after the break. 

We asked Michael Leckie, one of the principals of Vancouver-based Campos Leckie Studio, about the importance of discovery in design and the textural differences between projects. Your website states that your firm is committed to a rigorous process of discovery. How do you explain that to clients?

Process is extremely important in our work. When we meet with clients we do not immediately provide napkin sketches or an indication of what form the work will ultimately take on. Rather, we focus on the formulation of the ‘design problem’ and the conditions that establish the basis for exploration and discovery. These contextual starting points include the site, program, materiality, budget, as well as cultural reference points. This is challenging for some clients, as our culture generally conditions people to expect to see the final product before they commit to something. 

Zacatitos 02. Image © John Sinal Zacatitos 03. Image © John Sinal Zacatitos 04. Image © John Sinal © John Sinal

Gleason House Building / Trama Arquitectos

  • Architects: Trama Arquitectos
  • Location: Americana, Guadalajara, JAL, Mexico
  • Architectural Project: Jaime Castiello Chávez, Héctor Santana, Edgardo Sandoval, Carlos Haro, Jorge Ignacio Gutiérrez, Livier Miramontes, Héctor Lozano, Mario Rodríguez, Beatriz Orozco, Carmen Espinosa, Manuel Haro, Jaime Castiello Gómez Verea, Fernando Castiello, Miguel Martínez, Hugo Yáñez Ochoa, Susana Cortés, Juan Carlos Barriga
  • Area: 875.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Mito Covarrubias, Courtesy of Trama Arquitectos

© Mito Covarrubias © Mito Covarrubias © Mito Covarrubias © Mito Covarrubias

Apartment in Bosques de las Lomas / Taller David Dana Arquitectura

© Alessandro Bo © Alessandro Bo © Alessandro Bo © Alessandro Bo

Hegel Apartment / Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop

© Rafael Gamo
© Rafael Gamo

© Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo

Comercio 117 / ARCHETONIC

  • Architects: ARCHETONIC
  • Location: Comercio, Escandón, Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
  • Project Architect: Jacobo Micha Mizrahi
  • Project Area: 1883.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photography: Rafael Gamo

© Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo © Rafael Gamo

RedHouse / Hans Kabsch Vela

  • Architects: Hans Kabsch Vela
  • Location: Tulipanes, Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico
  • Collaborator: Rosa Marina Maldonado Mendez
  • Project Area: 243.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photography: Onnis Luque R.

© Onnis Luque R. © Onnis Luque R. © Onnis Luque R. © Onnis Luque R.

Ming House / LGZ Taller de Arquitectura

  • Architects: LGZ Taller de Arquitectura
  • Location: Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  • Architect In Charge: Lena de la Torre, Oscar Fdo. Mendoza L
  • Area: 257.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Jorge Taboada

© Jorge Taboada © Jorge Taboada © Jorge Taboada © Jorge Taboada

Prado House / Diego Torres G + CoA arquitectura + Estudio Macías Peredo

  • Architects: CoA arquitectura, Estudio Macías Peredo, Diego Torres G
  • Location: Zapopan, JAL, Mexico
  • Architect In Charge: Diego Torres Guízar / CoA arquitectura / Estudio Macías Peredo
  • Area: 195.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Jaime Navarro, Francisco Gutiérrez Peregrina

© Jaime Navarro © Francisco Gutiérrez Peregrina © Francisco Gutiérrez Peregrina © Jaime Navarro

Almacén del Bife en México / Taller G Arquitectos

  • Architects: Taller G Arquitectos
  • Location: Av. Luis Donaldo Colosio, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Architect In Charge: Gerardo Galván Castro
  • Area: 1100.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Jorge de Luna

© Jorge de Luna © Jorge de Luna © Jorge de Luna © Jorge de Luna