Each year the Vilcek Foundation selects American immigrant champions of the arts and sciences. This year the 2018 Vilcek Prize in Architecture was awarded to Guatemala-born, and now San Diego-based, professor and architect Teddy Cruz. Cruz uses his past experiences, living in Guatemala during its civil war, to focus his academic and professional career on shaping political and socioeconomic forces.
Spanish and Mexican architect Félix Candela is widely recognized as one of the most prominent figures in 20th century architecture. His innovative experiments with reinforced concrete produced iconic buildings deemed cascarones, or 'shell structures', such as the Pavilion of Cosmic Rays at UNAM, Mexico City (1951); the Chapel Lomas de Cuernavaca, Cuernavaca (1958); Los Manantiales Restaurant, Xochimilco (1958); and the Palace of Sports for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
The Architectural League of New York has announced the recipients of its 2018 Emerging Voices awards, spotlighting individuals and firms “with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism.”
This exhibition roots Félix Candela (1910-1997) as one of the most prolific architects of the 20th century in his advanced geometric designs and lasting influence in contemporary architecture. It originated through the research of scholar Juan Ignacio del Cueto and is curated by the architectural theorist and designer Alexander Eisenschmidt. The exhibition spotlights Félix Candela’s Concrete Shells through photographs, architectural models, and plans, as well as archival material from his time as a professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1971 to 1978.
Candela exiled to Mexico
As part of a generation of designers that have, in recent years, put Mexico on the map, Tatiana Bilbao is an architect that is increasingly part of the profession’s global consciousness. But, while some Mexican architects have made their mark with spectacular architecture following the international trend of “iconic” architecture, Bilbao opted instead for a more people-focused approach. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky’s “City of Ideas” series, Bilbao explains how she got into this type of community-building architecture, her thoughts on architectural form, and her ambitions for the future.
Vladimir Belogolovsky: The more I talk to architects of your generation or my generation, the more it becomes apparent that architecture has absolutely no boundaries. In other words, architecture is not just about buildings. More and more, architecture is about building communities.
Tatiana Bilbao: Absolutely. For me, that is the most important part of architecture. Architecture is not about building a building; architecture is about building a community.
The new year is almost here, and Richard Meier & Partners has four international projects that will be coming to fruition. These new multi-use building designs play with light, transparency, and volume as well as respond to their varying urban context.
At the end of September, we invited our Spanish-speaking readers to send us their social housing proposals completed at a university level. Social housing is still a challenge for much of Latin America and although every year hundreds of architecture students work on projects that reflect their concerns in the social housing field, its visibility is very low and its materialization is null. At a time when the Global South has pursued its own responses to its own problems, the university response on social housing should be taken into account by the State, both of whom are interested in the common good.
Out of 116 proposals received from Spain and 11 Latin American countries, this selection of 20 ideas represents the different challenges and state of the problems in social housing. While some approach Colombia's post-conflict scenario for rural inhabitants, some propose answers to the insertion of social housing in already densified areas, to which the beneficiaries tend to be relegated by the value of land and housing. Other ideas point to the reconversion of infrastructure, modulation, the integration of indigenous peoples and natural disasters.
We believe that the selection not only highlights the efforts of students and academics to address contingent problems but will also open up the discussion about social housing, often relegated only as a one-dimensional problem when in reality, poverty is multidimensional.
LocationBoca del Río, Ver., Mexico
Architect in ChargeMichel Rojkind
Architectural projectAgustín Pereyra (Project Manager) Arturo Ortíz, Adrián Aguilar, Sandra Carvajal, Fernanda Casar, Salvador Cortéz, Diego Díaz Lezama, Paulina Elizalde, Rubén García, Daniel Gaytán, Paulina Goycoolea, Jorge González R., Alfredo Hernández , Laura Hernández, Pablo Herrera, Julieta Inclán, Carsten Lemme Andrea León, Félix Mendoza, Gerardo Salinas, Julio Serralde, Alfonso Paz, Cynthia Ponce, Víctor Velázquez, Ditter Vergara, Beatriz Zavala.
As the son of famed Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, and now the leader of the firm which he joined under his father in 1989, Victor Legorreta is one of Mexico’s most visible architects. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky’s “City of Ideas” series, Legorreta discusses the complexities of following in the footsteps of his father and how, in his view, good architecture is made.
Vladimir Belogolovsky: What kind of projects are you working on at this moment?
Victor Legorreta: We work on a variety of projects—about 60 percent are in Mexico and the rest are abroad. Mexico City is increasingly becoming a vertical city in its attempt to reverse its tendency of growing into an endless and dysfunctional sprawl. We are working on several mixed-use towers with retail, entertainment, restaurants, offices, and residential uses in a single building to enable people to find everything they need within easy reach, to lessen the pressure on traffic, which in the city is now among the worst in the world. We are also working with The Aga Khan Foundation on two projects—a university in Tanzania and a hospital and university in Uganda.
The CEMEX Building Award recognizes the best projects in Mexico and the rest of the world that use concrete in a creative and innovative way, with a focus on sustainability and social welfare. This year, the award received 545 entries in its Mexican Edition, of which 18 were awarded prizes.
The awards ceremony took place on November 9th in Mexico City, with finalists attending from the Czech Republic, France, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and various countries from South America.
The winners of the Mexico Edition were:
The CEMEX Building Award recognizes the best projects in Mexico and the rest of the world that use concrete in a creative and innovative way, with a focus on sustainability and social welfare. This year, the award received 70 entries in the 5 categories and 4 special awards of its International Edition.
The CA’ASI association is organising an architectural competition highlighting the dynamics of the young Latin-American architecture. The best projects of this international competition open to young Latin-American architects will be exhibited in 2018 at the CA’ASI during the International Architecture Exhibition. This competition is a unique opportunity to underline the important role played by these countries today, reflected by the renewal of their architecture.
The Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros is an outstanding example of extraordinary artistry crafted by Mexican muralist, David Alfaro Siqueiros, together with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. The building was constructed in 1971, taking the shape of a diamond and housing “The March of Humanity,” what is recognized as the world's largest mural. It blankets both the interior and exterior surfaces, covering a total of 8,000 square meters. In 1981, the Polyforum was declared a monument of Mexico’s National Patrimony.
Commissioned by Mexican developer Némesis Capital in 2015, the new tower will offer a variety of new housing options to the fast-growing neighborhood of Santa Fe, a business district in western Mexico City that is home to 3 universities and the regional offices of high profile tech companies including Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Roche and Amazon.
Last week, Mexico received a visit from 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, who, following September’s devastating earthquakes, reached out to the country in order to offer support through his experience with humanitarian projects.
In the decade since the start of the financial crisis, there has been an explosion in the number of architectural practices that have pursued unusual and ingenious business models—among the most popular of which is the concept of the developer-architect, who serves as their own client. With his architecture firm and development company JSa, Javier Sanchez has been proving this concept since long before the financial crisis hit. In the latest interview of his City of Ideas series—and the third of his interviews with Mexican architects after Enrique Norten, Alberto Kalach and Mauricio Rocha and Gabriela Carrillo—Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks to Sanchez about the benefits of working as one’s own client and how JSa leverages its business model to improve the city.
Vladimir Belogolovsky: You are often described as a developer first and an architect second. Is that accurate? How do you see yourself?
Javier Sanchez: Well, I started as a developer and I became an architect as a consequence. In fact, in the beginning, I only worked as a developer. Now about three-quarters of our projects are for other clients and only a quarter we develop ourselves. I think of development as a tool that enables me to do my architecture. This is what I learned directly from my father’s partner who, apart from heading their architecture studio, worked on small-scale development projects on his own, in partnership with investors. He was both an architect and client, which was intriguing to me. In a way, it was almost like being an artist, since artists don’t usually have clients. I like the idea that an architect can face himself and the project directly without having a client.
The exercise, “from territory to inhabitant”, organized by the Centre of Investigation for Sustainable Development (CIDS) of Infonavit, seeks to respond to the diverse cultural, social, environmental, spatial and functional needs of different localities and bioclimates in finding assisted self-build housing solutions. The main objective of this investigation is to establish the legal, conceptual and architectonic processes that can be used to create these types of houses.
In their next project, CIDS invited the Mexican studio ZD+A to collaborate with Iñaki Echeverría to make a proposal for a social housing prototype for assisted self-build with the municipality of Tala in Jalisco, Mexico.
For the 9th edition of Design Week Mexico, emerging Mexican practice Materia has completed a architectural pavilion within Mexico City's largest public green space, Chapultepec Park. Commissioned by Design Week Mexico in collaboration with Museo Tamayo, the pavilion will serve as a major cultural attraction during the event from October 11th—15th, and beyond.