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A Nationalistic Modern: Fracturing anteriority and interiority of Mexico’s architecture

Project by Jonathan Munoz M.Arch Spring 2013 chair: Martin Gundersen co-chair: Bradley Walters

Table of Contents Introduction Case Studies Rivera-Kahlo Studio Ciudad Universitaria (University City) Luis Barragan House

7 9 13 19

On Process


On Void


On Movement


On Body



First and foremost, I would like to thank my mother and brother for being by my side to me in all academic achievements. They have truly been a force behind what I do filling me pride and smiles during this journey. To the rest of my family who is still living in Mexico, they are and always will be my constant reminder that in the end it is not about what you have but who you have to share it with and most importantly always enjoy what you aim to do. My grandfather for showing me that it is never to old to keep going. My fellow architecture friends from undergrad and grad for giving me feedback when I needed it and waking me up for class when it was necessary. I would like to give my entire respect and admiration to my chair, Martin Gundersen and co-chair, Bradley Walters, who I believe have two great academic minds and who know exactly what to say and how to say with the least amount of words exactly what you need to hear to push your project’s intentions and success. To every professor who I had the pleasure to teach along with as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for allowing me to have the opportunity of understanding, learning and fully immersing myself in the pedagogical approach of architecture. Thank you to all faculty who taught me a studio, elective or architecture track required class in the six years I spent experiencing as much as I could at the University of Florida Architecture Program.

Architecture is understood by its function which is defined by a culture and its cultural understanding of the architecture. --Mario Gandelsonas and David Morton

Introduction Mexican identity is expressed through its architecture, bright colors, energetic music, murals and history. From the 1920’s to the late 1950’s Mexico underwent an idealistic revolution inspired on the emergence of social primal necessities. After the civil revolution of 1910 Mexico was left in a need of an identity, one that would not ignore their pre-Columbian roots, which were buried by the Spanish colonialism and replaced with cities organized on cuadriculas that superimposed themselves over the already established and successful Aztec cities. Mexico was in search of an infrastructure that would support the new regime and uphold the foundation of better education, health and workforce programs. With the new Constitution of 1917 the concept of social equality permeated the air, and with that in place “the Revolutionary government also needed new ministerial buildings to administer these programmes-buildings which, by their very presence in the city would also demonstrate the seriousness of the government’s intentions”1 Architecture however, was one step behind this revolutionary mindset. It was the muralist who opened discussions with the achievements of the Mexican Revolution through their graphic depiction of the social worker and the indigenous people. However, one must understand that it was the close relationship between the muralists and architects during the 1920’s what initiated the modern influence and impact on Mexican architecture. Muralists like Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco took on the opportunity to redefine Mexicanidad through the transformation of the traditional practice. In early 1920’s muralist began their introduction into architecture through what Valeria Fraser calls “plastic integration,” which entailed that architects would integrate the possibility of murals into their design by adding large plain walls to the structure. Given that early modernist architecture in Mexico was minimalist and abstract, it rejected the idea of decoration and ornament.2 The incorporation of murals and ideological narratives thus posed a problem because it would cause the diminishing of glass walls, which according to modern ideals were a big part of the design allowing transparency of the spaces. Hence, the incorporation of these walls as murals meant that even at its early stages, a transformation to the Mexican modernistic ideals would have to take place. Muralism became a language, the words of the revolutionary promises. It established itself as modern and Mexican. Valerie Fraser goes on to say that “‘Mexican’ art could not be invented using artificial historicisms but that ‘mexicanidad’ would in fact emerge on its own.”3 Thus the depiction of historical events through the murals became a medium for the mexicanidad to emerge. Furthermore, in the architecture field during the early 1920’s, a younger generation of architects was energized with a route of pragmatic functionalism. One cannot over look the direct link between the birth and rapid explosion of this functionalist movement in architecture in Mexico and the arrival of Vers une Architecture to Mexico in 1924. Its impact on young architects was embodied in their methods and approach to architecture. Among them a young architect Juan O’Gorman found his personal expression in this novel concept and went on to claim for himself the honor of having been the first Le Corbusian functionalist in Mexico.4


Mexico was home to the practice of modernistic approaches and ideals, and its influence is undeniable. Nevertheless, while architects in Europe, in an attempt to universalize architecture, developed these idealized concepts of what architecture should be, how it should behave, and what it should look like, they did not concretize themselves beyond words on paper and discussions. Mexico, along with Latin America, became the ground for its application and in situ exploration. That is not to say that architecture in Mexico is an adequate and precise representation of modernistic architecture, for as it was instituted it was transformed and adapted to respond to the needs of a culture, which was ready to redefine itself as new and prosperous. The new techniques, materials and systems now contained a cultural definition. It was specific in its expression and provided this rising entity the realization of being; the opportunity to evolve as a collective.5


1. a particular point or part of space or of a surface, esp that occupied by a person or thing

Case Studies

The action and process of building-- the act of a collective working for the creation of an edifice. -Frampton

The Rivera-Kahlo Studio hosts an idea birthing in the 1930’s on efficiency in function of space. With the arrival of Towards a New Architecture, Juan O’Gorman found a welcoming architectural language never introduced in Mexico before; one which would start the mitigation between the revolutionary mindset of the visual arts and the efficient and engineered mindset of architecture in that time. According to Valerie Frasier Juan O’Gorman claimed to be the first Le Corbuzian functionalist in Mexico. This obsession with function driven spaces allowed O’Gorman to design through a process that was driven by logic an calculative thought regarding function and form; while simultaneously create spaces containing a reborn “Mexican” essence. In the Rivera-Kahlo Studio an underlying grid organizes each of the house-studios, the Rivera studio is organized in a three by three grid and the Kahlo studio in a two by two grid. Each grid however, contains the same unit of measurement maintaining a constant in the design as a whole. Nevertheless, the grid does not retain a rigidity in its application, but instead begins to transform in order to create volumes, scale difference, references to exterior edges and relations to exterior conditions. These transformations do not erase the stability of the grid in its totality, it merely varies its flexibility in order to accommodate to function of spaces, such as shifting, extending, and mirroring the grid. The variability within the application of the grid allows for the rhythms from outside to extend into the interior spaces. The translation of the exterior conditions to the inside behave as a unifying volume that serves as a vertebrae for both buildings shifted off the grid. Having said this the extension does not occur as a unidirectional movement but instead it is a reciprocal relationship between the interior (calculated and permanent grid) and exterior (sporadic and temporary condition). Courtyards as a construction of open space, uniform amid both structures, are formed by the edges of the primary buildings and in doing so emphasize a complementary relationship between these structures. This particular relationship is established on a continuous shared ground plane that unifies the immediate ground of each structure as one uniform communal space and further solidifies itself through a physical link above ground stretching from one building to the next. In doing so it allows to stretch space above ground creating an overhead plane further defining the communal field between both houses. The influential friendship between O’Gorman and important muralists of the time such as Diego Rivera and Orozco is also evident in the studio in its saturated colors and bare walls. Glass is no longer utilized as a boundary but instead is transformed into a layer of transparency between the exterior and interior, playing with relationships between light and program. Therefore, when he substitutes glass with uniform bare walls O’Gorman allows for the color to carry weight as a phenomenal element in the architecture.

The color now becomes a mural that consequently programs the wall as an element that works functionally by bringing some enclosure and protection, while at the same time it works phenomenologically by painting the space through the interaction of light and color. The blue is no longer a single shade of blue but is washed from dark blue to light blue; the red slowly changes from a radiant pink to an obscure red. In this manner the color and light become materials and surface aimed to capture memory, history and a sociological statement referring to an idea. “All Mexico needed was the idea, then it could press ahead and put the theory to work in ways...�1

Rivera-Khalo 2D Diagrammatic Analysis


The mythical topos for the creation of the new Mexican...the environment where modern society would be born. --Valerie Frasier

The University Campus displays an emphasis on public communal spaces created by the interaction of separate buildings housing different disciplines. The network established through the overlapping of immediate grounds allow the overall space to be broken down by independent conditions yet still maintain a collective gesture. Conditions such as contrasting rhythms introduce a feeling of tension between one smaller field within the whole. Vertical columns opening the ground floor for a continuous flow from the main open space to a secondary public garden exposes the students to visually experience the contrast in program and activity. This is not to say that elements are strictly bound to one zone, but instead much like on the Rivera-Kahlo Studio they transform and become a translation of architectural language. In this way one can understand the dialogue intended between adjoining spaces and spaces acting as satellites for each other. Spatial frames are constructed with the intention of highlighting particular moments which introduce a condition of shade or temporal enclosure. These intended pauses are understood with more significance in the overall space rather than in segregated moments, for the temporal moments of pause allow the inhabitants to fully understand and take in the spatial interactions resulting from the different disciplines overlapping in space. This playfulness with overlapping spaces and extensions expressed a more sophisticated development of a transformed modernistic language since the individual spaces were not just linked through extended walls that folded and interacted with each other implying various scales of spaces, but it also incorporated physical murals relating the socioeconomic power of arts and architecture. By the late 1940’s “the established method of ‘Mexicanizing’ modern architecture was to incorporate murals.”1 Ciudad Universitaria (University City) was meant to be an environment that lead to the birth of modern society, where socioeconomic status was no longer an issue but instead, according to Keith L. Eggener in Cruelty & Utopia, the relationship with the landscape was where the inequalities of the ‘real city’ were erased. The open public space would establish everybody who occupied it under the same plane which was charged by the various murals encountered on the facades of the buildings. This urban space represented the harmonic incorporation of plastic arts and architecture, “a concept that was embedded in early ideas of the Bauhaus during the early 1920’s”2 that as stated by Eggener took form in Mexico and more specifically in the University City as a metaphor of the fever for social, aesthetic and political modernity of the time.

Ciudad Universitaria 2D Diagrammatic Analysis


The promised dialogue between man and nature has become a hysterical, monotonous human monologue. --Luis Barragan

The Barragan house is composed of a series of playful volumetric and planar interpositions. By shifting the planes Barragan is able to imply boxes that unfold from the corners where planes meet and thus introduce a new role of the wall as more than a singular edge or boundary. Instead the wall behaves as complex active element with multiple programs. Fields are able to slide back and forth and thus control the exposure of the interior to the exterior, but more importantly in this case study one can understand how Barragan is in control of what information penetrates from the exterior to the interior spaces through constructed frames and apertures. Windows become a production of intimate corners and begin to highlight the elemental use of nature and patios. As one moves from the outside to the inside of the building a series of layers indicate the change in rhythms from space to space as circulation goes from public to private, shifts between service and public and links interior courtyards to exterior courtyards. Courtyards are another resultant of the spatial interaction between offset folding planes, which in turn enable the courtyards to become open bounded spaces within the house. Nevertheless always keeping in mind the open view to the sky only in order to remind the occupant of the surrounding nature. The spatial hierarchy of the courtyard as a central space, very much similar to the idea of the hearth, impacts the adjacent spaces as a gravitational moment (or joint) to which all other release to. This in turn forces the arrangement of spaces to circulate around the central courtyard-like space, which benefit from the sliding volumes and planes since this way circulation never meets a dead end but always reconnects with another point of interest. In this manner Barragan is able to soften the exterior to interior relationship found in the Rivera-Kahlo studio depicted as landscape in relation to architecture. However, in this case this relationship is expressed as the relation between the “unbuilt” and the “built.”1 Sectionally, walls that move from the ground to the second and third floor layout sets of rhythms throughout the house, which are linked by transition small scale spaces. These transition spaces behold a deeper role within the circulation since they act as liminal spaces, the in between moment that builds up the approach on to the next space whether it is double its scale and dark or opens up to a particular view of the exterior garden. Scalar hyperboles enable the preconceived idea of a “wall” to be broken and reconstructed in a way that they carry a larger weight in the humanization of a space, which by making spaces private, intimate, uneasy or gentle Barragan is able to synthesize “tradition and innovation” by counteracting the dehumanization of modern life in Mexican architecture.2

Barragan Studio 2D Diagrammatic Analysis


On Process A plan is a finite condition of writing, but the traces of writing suggest many different plans. It is the idea of the traces that is important for any concept of the diagram, because unlike a plan, traces are neither fully structural presences nor motivated signs. --Peter Eisenman

On Process The design process is driven by a series of pedagogical design oriented questions that intend to define a language out of spatial explorations and analysis that establish a tangible human and cultural familiarity. Design is a slow and often uneven accumulation of stitches, that are often ripped out part way through while we struggle to make clear, or to understand what the pattern and organization might be, even as we avoid as much as possible what the final image might be.1 In this manner one is able to simplify concepts engulfing projects into a notational language, the diagram, that allows for a more sophisticated series of transformations. These diagrams become a series of visible and invisible lines, erased and traced over repeatedly that recreate projects that have the possibility of existing as part of a building. The diagram then becomes not just another form of explanation of the object but instead it becomes a synthesis of the subject, that which is understood. When speaking about the diagram as a graphical method of construction it is commonly conceived as an abstraction. It is a representation of something which is not the entity itself but that which defines its character in nature. Through this particular method of production the diagram plays a role as an intermediate medium, one that does not only emerges as an exploration prior to a final production but also appears after as part of a post-rational process that generates a form specific to a space and time. “As a generator there is not necessarily a one-to-one correspondence between the diagram and the resultant form”2 but it is an attempt to discover structures and organizations buried within the thing itself. In the end being able to distinguish the role of the diagram as a generator allows one to uncover an architectural language that mediates between the building, an object and what is understood to be the architecture’s ideals. It is not that the diagram is a finalized product but that it is a realization that can still change, transform, shift, grow, be erased, and re-synthesized. All with the purpose of making palpable the thing as a composition of different parts and elements that make the whole. It is not a single layer but a composition of layers, traces, ideas, and members that are organized together in order to create structure, rhythms and forms which in turn give meaning to an architectural language. In this manner the diagram becomes a rational thought process through which the design ideas are able to manifest themselves as a superimposition of lines, tones, and marks that link the hand of the author with the thought process. However in the process of design, with the use of diagrams is embedded a repetition in operations in order to fully clarify intention that may not be clear to the naked eye. Walter Gropius once said: In architectural education the teaching of a method of approach is more important than the teaching of skills… the integration of the whole range of knowledge and experience is of the greatest importance right from the start; only then will the totality of aspect make sense in the student’s mind… such an educational approach would draw the student into a creative effort to integrate simultaneously design, construction, and economy of any given task with its social ends. This method of teaching in the Bauhaus is based on a repetitive pedagogical design process that forces the students to learn through making, observing, and further transforming the constructions. These series of constructions carry the qualities of diagrams as they too behave as generators for architecture and in many ways are an attempt to concretize the subject without recreating the object.

Through a rearrangement of diagrammatic fragments one is able to give birth to a series of new proposals embodying the case studies as architectural concepts and not as a representation of an object/ building. Nevertheless, by repeating the diagrammatic approach in all three proposals allows for the emergence of reoccurring elements as the evolve, disappear or go through more sophisticated transformations throughout the different case studies. Thus, in placing all three proposals next to each other enables concepts found in the RiveraKahlo studio such as bringing the exterior into the public interior spaces to be understood as an evolution of ideals that come to a final reformation in the Barragan studio. Furthermore, the walls are another element that undergoes an even more sophisticated language adaptation to architectural culture of a specific time and place as they become more efficient and fundamental in their use as edges, lines on plans and forms of implying spatial relationships between volumes and elements.


Juan O’Gorman Subject Synthesis

Intermediate Spaces/Interstitial Spaces

Study of Wall/Marking Movement

Anchor Exterior Spaces

Seam Spaces

Void Traces Exploration


Ciudad Universitaria Subject Synthesis

Bridging edges/Inverted Link Spaces Study

Extension of Wall

Spaces Directly Connected with Exterior

Exterior Fields/Open Spaces

Rhythms in Procession


Luis Barragan Subject Synthesis

Interlocking Spaces/Fastening Spaces

Study of Wall/Overlapping Planes

Enclosed Open Spaces

Blanket Spaces/Fields

Void and Scale Resultant


The diagram acts like a surface that receives inscriptions from the memory of that which does not yet exist—that is, of the potential architectural object. --Peter Eisenman

On Void

On Void

In analyzing an existing object, building or site architecture undoubtedly recurs first to the diagrammatic study of plans, which allow for the uncovering of ideas and layers in a 2D exploration. Its flexibility and openness in approach are vast, which in turn provides a great collection of thoughts and process and rational. However, in its vast openness of exploration we find that there is still limitations on fully understanding a place and its components. The two dimensional explorations fail to expose the spatial overlap of volumes in a three dimensional axis, the relationship between the spaces established as positive (mass) or negative (void) in a construction, and the scale of components or elements that make up the building or proposal. It is not until we arrive to the three dimensional studies, axonometric explorations being one of them, that we are able to control scale of elements, vastness of volumes, beginning of movement within volumes and spatial interaction of bodies within a form that contains a function. The proposal then gains a scale as a whole by permitting the eye to juxtapose the scalar difference between the body and the construction, the body and an individual element and the elements or components to the thing as a whole. Clearly this kind of three dimensional explorations are useful to further transform the language established by the prior 2D diagrams in a way that the drawing is able to reach a kind of sophistication or language that can be related to a more humanized character. That is to say that one is able to narrate with more facility the spatial intentions of form and function. Here the architectural language reaches a level of clarity in communication relatable to a time and cultural place; similar to the transformation of spoken and written words undergo through time in order to assimilate a cultural use. Jean Francois Lyotard writes in his book The Postmodern Condition “We can distinguish an oral culture from a written culture through the idea of memory. ” The introduction of memory into the language of diagramming brings forth an additional sensitivity of space while ascertaining a connection between the subject (void) and the body of memory (mind). In Lyotard’s terms, architecture would be traditionally thought of as an oral culture; that is, a culture activated by a set of external rules and regulations for communication with some external subject,1 however he later states that “in a written culture, the subject is constituted by contact with and through a writing which must be read.” However within an oral culture there are underlying presuppositions of the present here and now, whereas a writing culture “is motivated by the subject’s desire to make some sort of sense out of the possibilities.”2 That is to say that in this case the subject intends to make sense of the intentions behind the diagram as a method of writing and communicating the language embedded within the 2D explorations and even further back in the language of the original objects.

O’Gorman Translation of 2D into Axonometric

Ciudad Universitaria Translation of 2D into Axonometric

Barragan Translation of 2D into Axonometric


O’Gorman Axonometric Architectural Fragment (A)

O’Gorman Axonometric Architectural Fragment (B)

Ciudad Universitaria Axonometric Architectural Fragment (C)

Ciudad Universitaria Axonometric Architectural Fragment (D)

Barragan Axonometric Architectural Fragment (E)

Barragan Axonometric Architectural Fragment (F)

On Movement

Rooting oneself in the integrity of the land not only as means to resist the onslaught of progress but also as a way of sustaining the habitability of the earth. --Luis Barrgan

On Movement

As the diagrammatic studies evolved from two-dimensional planar explorations that were fragmented and re-synthesized into a three-dimensional axonometric exploration of the diagram; elements such as body, rhythms and scalar relationships were introduced to the analytical language and a dialogue in which the humanized side of architecture began to emerge. Memory now becomes a medium through which the notational language in the drawings is able to inject intentions of form and function in relation to a place, time and presence or lack of thereof within the proposal. The constructions reach a level of sophistication where they attempt to portray a sense of experience, phenomenal and physical, that take the spaces a step away from explorations and a step closer to a physical construction; one which can be occupied and experienced by the human body. However, these constructions remains just that, simple constructions of spatial form that one can only imagine a function and scale for. There is no apparent definition of scale of the construction as a whole, whether it will partake on a more urban scale, backyard scale or domestic scale because they remain siteless. Without any contextual matrix the constructions have nothing to relate to and thus fundamental notions of approach, movement, departure and perceptions of space are lost. Therefore, in order to apply the language developed through the analytical process that preceded these constructions in a field where architecture can exist, site had to be introduced. Site may be introduced as existing contextual information, a specific place that may have been thought of earlier in the process or it has the possibility of emerging from the analysis itself. That is, the context where the architecture will exist now unfolds from the concepts embedded within the language utilized in the proposals. In this manner the architecture and the context share a commonality in basic intentions of space as well as architectural language of construction. Each complements the other in a manner that the ideas driving the form, scales of spaces, repetitions, rhythms, pauses and functions are able to emerge together harmonically. Initial explorations of concepts that were heavily utilized in Mexican modernism such as the flexibility of the wall as an element that creates edges, implies space and allows for shifting and overlapping in order to form different scalar functions re-emerge in the axonometric contextual study. Here the idea of the wall as a thing that does not necessarily needs to be attached to another wall but can exists on its own becomes a comfortable notion. The established comfortability of the wall existing alone allows for it to break away from the idea of behaving as a ruin, but instead be occupied, be a shelter, be walked on as a path, and further fold from horizontal movement to vertical ascension. The wall interacts with the experience of a body approaching a space, it changes perceptions and views and charges the overall field with a natural interaction between nature and architecture which was heavily explored in early through late Mexican architecture. Exterior spaces are not alienated from the interior spaces but instead both are amalgamated as they invade each other territories and thus blur they boundaries between exterior and interior. Within each node pockets of bounded exterior spaces materialize and adhere themselves to the interior spaces as fold-outs of space. The exterior open spaces commence a dialogue of large public fields vs private exterior spaces that notch themselves adjacent to or within the lager fields. Furthermore, a new conversation regarding the political statement implanted in large public spaces during the Ciudad Universitaria project surfaces once more as the large public fields do not remain only on the exterior or as a secondary program but instead become the points of congregation and primary moments that now invade the interior volumes.


Placing Fragments Within a Context Series A (B,F,C)

Placing Fragments Within a Context Series B (A,D,E)

On Body

On Body

It is impossible to inhabit a measureless world, for we live in a world structured by turning vast open spaces into a distinct place charged with meaning and culture. The world we live in is a physical one and as such it cannot remain scaleless, placeless or meaningless, we must give it a human scale. In the end architecture is not about the inhabitant domesticating the space but instead about shaping it using memory language that will respond to its time and simultaneously remain timeless in nature. This kind of operation unfolds from the attempt to give space meaning and experience through different qualities of space, physical and phenomenal. “Profound architecture responds equally to the requirements of the body and the mind.”1 Clearly in this statement Juhani Pallasma is referring to a specific kind of architectural operation and a particular kind of spatial interaction. One that takes into account the body not as a secondary element, but as a primary fundamental character that defines the construction it will inhabit. The architecture is embodied within the body and vice versa as both complements each other’s necessities. The spaces intend to predict movement of and with the body; it forces frames, views of interior and exterior spaces, foresees bodily desires, and interplays with aromas and textures in the surrounding environment. It does not solely aspire to reach harmony or challenge the idea of dwelling in a physiscal sense but triggers the mental dwelling aspect of space in order to create experiences and memories. Sarah Robinson goes on to say in her book, Nesting: Body, Dwelling, Mind, “our experience of the world is a fusion between the internal landscape of our minds and our constructed reality. In this ‘mental ecology’ our body is the pivotal point of interface.”2 It is with this in mind that the manifestation of a series of perspectives of speculative spaces within a site born from axonometric diagram studies are able to assimilate the introduction of body, memory and history. In this manner architecture is able to claim a territory in line with a cultural set of beliefs and necessities. Enclosed spaces emerge as a form of shelter and to an extent an openly driven program which allows the inhabitant to define how it will be utilized. Walls are no longer treated as ruins but they are immediately charged with socioeconomical statements through its use as murals of expression from a specific place and time in Mexico such as Chiapas, Mexico. Open spaces are transformed into a mixed used space where inhabitants, indigenous, middle class, or upper class, are brought together in various forms of interactions. Opportunities for improvised markets, moments of pause for reflection, nooks for rest, open bounded spaces for playing, running and large scale activities, moments when nature and building understand each other and do not remain separate objects from each other are established. Lastly, architecture is allowed to exist in its own as a wall can stand alone but not become a secluded residue of something that once was. Robinson later states in her book that “when we design and build the tangible world we support certain features of our experiences while suppressing others.”3 However, within these series of vignettes the inhabitant activates the spatial complexities of the different spaces through physical interactions as well as psychological, sensitive and phenomenal interactions. Features are exalted through an established hierarchy of spaces and components that make them up, which is not to say that some features are suppressed but merely become secondary or tertiary in the hierarchy beset by both the architecture and the inhabitant.


Sectional Exploration Series A

Sectional Exploration Series B

Perspective/Vignette Exploration of Occupation (A)

Perspective/Vignette Exploration of Occupation (B)

Perspective/Vignette Exploration of Occupation (C)

Perspective/Vignette Exploration of Occupation (D)

Perspective/Vignette Exploration of Occupation (E)

Perspective/Vignette Exploration of Occupation (F)

On Conclusion

This manifestation of architecture through an analytical process of diagrams and their evolution in language allowed me to permit the different operations done at each stage dictate how the MRP would unfold out of itself. It carried its own momentum from the beginning diagrams to the end, when it was the power of the language embedded in the drawings that gave birth to the evolution of spaces from a set of existing case studies into a new construction with a site, place and intentions. All to say that in this exploration of architecture, through diagrams and memory, the process comes to a full cultural cycle. Though the design process is mostly one focused on the manipulation of space and form in as to create, while simultaneously understand, how architecture defines a place, culture and identity based on Mexican modernism and Chiapas today. It is visible in the final perspective explorations that some of the much ignored characteristics seen in the case studies which help define them as critical constructions of Mexican architecture such as color, textures and social statements come to surface once more. Reasoning for this event is not due to a last minute attempt to correlate languages and force a connection but it is due to the intrinsic cultural relationship between memory and design. Throughout this process the idea that mental dwelling is just as important as physical dwelling has been a reoccurring theme explored in the theoretical as well as the diagrammatic aspects of the MRP. We as architects and human beings naturally design based on our subconscious ecology—the landscape we have experienced in our lives visually, physically and mentally through memories. Thus, when I took on a pedagogical approach of design, which involved a careful study through drawings of a place that I had previously experienced as an inhabitant of its spaces and culture; naturally it became impossible to reject the cultural side of architectural spaces hidden in the subconscious ecology. With this in mind the result is one that of a cyclical construction, where the concepts explored in the beginning remain hidden through the process, yet that is not to say that they are forgotten nor rejected. These concepts remain as part of the spatial qualities that make up a given space, they are concealed in the language of the drawings and emerge with the sociocultural necessities of a context, time, and place.

Works Cited Introduction 1 2 3 4 5

Fraser, Valerie. Building the New World: Studies in the Modern Architecture of Latin America 1930-1960. (New York: Verso, 2000), 22. Fraser, Valerie, Building the New World: Studies in the Modern Architecture of Latin America 1930-1960, (New York: Verso, 2000), 23. Fraser, Valerie, Building the New World: Studies in the Modern Architecture of Latin America 1930-1960, (New York: Verso, 2000), 44. Gomez, Lilia O, Entrevista con el arquitecto Jose Villagran Garcia, el dia 28 de octubre 1979, in Testimonios vivos: veinte arquitectos(Cuadernos de Arquitectura y Conservacion del Patrimonio Artistico, 15-16), 1981, 63. Frampton, Kenneth, “Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance,” Labour, Work and Architecture, (New York: Phaidon Press, 2002), 78.

Rivera-Kahlo Studio 1

Fraser, Valerie. Building the New World: Studies in the Modern Architecture of Latin America 1930-1960. (New York: Verso, 2000), 40.

Ciudad Universitaria 1 2

Fraser, Valerie. Building the New World: Studies in the Modern Architecture of Latin America 1930-1960. (New York: Verso, 2000), 75. Fraser, Valerie. Building the New World: Studies in the Modern Architecture of Latin America 1930-1960. (New York: Verso, 2000), 75-76.

Luis Barragan House 1 2

Zanco, Federica. 2001. Luis Barragán: the quiet revolution. Milano, Italy: Skira. Zanco, Federica. 2001. Luis Barragán: the quiet revolution. Milano, Italy: Skira.

On Process 1 2

Williams, Todd, and Billie Tsien. “Slowness.” Accessed April 23, 2013. Peter Eisenman, Diagram Diaries, (New York: Universe, 1999), 28.

On Void 1 2

Eisenman, Peter. 2007. Written into the void: selected writings, 1990-2004. New Haven: Yale University Press.80. Peter Eisenman, Diagram Diaries, (New York: Universe, 1999), 212.

On Body 1 2 3

Robinson, Sarah. 2011. Nesting: body, dwelling, mind. Richmond, CA: William Stout Publishers.4. Robinson, Sarah. 2011. Nesting: body, dwelling, mind. Richmond, CA: William Stout Publishers.21. Robinson, Sarah. 2011. Nesting: body, dwelling, mind. Richmond, CA: William Stout Publishers.17.

Image Cited Introduction 1!Portrait.jpg 2 3 4

Case Studies 1 Self-taken 2 Self-taken 3 Alfaro, Alfonso, Daniel Garza Usabiaga, Juan Palomar Verea, and Luis Barragán. 2011. Luis Barragán, his house. Mexico City: Editorial RM.

Rivera-Kahlo Studio 1 2 3 Self-taken

Ciudad Universitaria 1 Seft-taken 2 Self-taken 3 Self-taken

Luis Barragan House 1 2 Alfaro, Alfonso, Daniel Garza Usabiaga, Juan Palomar Verea, and Luis Barragán. 2011. Luis Barragán, his house. Mexico City: Editorial RM. 3 Alfaro, Alfonso, Daniel Garza Usabiaga, Juan Palomar Verea, and Luis Barragán. 2011. Luis Barragán, his house. Mexico City: Editorial RM.

On Movement 1

Self-taken. Guadalajara, jalisco

On Body 1 2 3 al-03.jpg

On Conclusion 1 2

Self-taken. Chiapas, Mexico Self-taken. Rivera-Kahlo Studio



Alfaro, Alfonso, Daniel Garza Usabiaga, Juan Palomar Verea, and Luis Barragán. 2011. Luis Barragán, his house. Mexico City: Editorial RM.


Ambasz, Emilio. The Architecture of Luis Barragan. University of Michigan: Museum of Modern Art, 1976.


Carranza, Luis E. Architecture As Revolution: Episodes in the History of Modern Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.

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