Manifestos for Building the Utopia

The continuous ground movements that happen in Mexico City, specifically those that have occurred during the last 40 years, demonstrate the territory’s frailty due to its radical landscape transformation. The basin that originally held a 110,000 hectare lake is now home to the largest urban fabric in Latin America, where water occupies less than 5,000 hectare. The studio will focus on designing with such movements. Just as the Mexicas proved that inhabiting the lake was possible by constructing a utopian city, we believe in the potential of geological incidents as triggers for diverse forms of inhabiting a place.

Our focus will be ground-cracks, products of excessive water extraction, ground subsidence, and earthquakes. We are interested in their effects on the landscape and the urban fabric, and the possibilities they enable when considered as intrinsic elements that will shape the contemporary Mexico City.

Participants will express their positions toward these extreme conditions through a space manifesto. These statements will provide enough critical matter to define a sensitive vision for the site as well as its complex social and economic conditions, which will be expressed through drawings and physical models capable of showing divergent possibilities for inhabiting the current and distorted landscape of southern Mexico City, where memory and landscape come together.


– Modesty and openness when getting to know and understand a distant reality.

– High sensitivity and imagination to reframe the conditions in a specific territory permeated by culture and tradition. 

– Compromise and passion to produce high-quality models, drawings, and texts that explain divergent visions of a specific land. 

– Inquisitiveness to rethink the opportunities presented by a vulnerable territory.


This course has an irregular meeting schedule. 

Thursday and Friday Bi-Weekly: August 29-30; Sept 12-13; October 10-11,17-18,24,25; November 7-8, 21-22; and for final reviews.
The instructors will alternate weeks of instruction and may arrange for skype sessions between visits. 

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