Intermediate 8 Intermediate 8 Projects Review installation, 2017

Politics of the Hyperwall: Snaky Lines of Densification in Mexico City

Francisco González de Canales and Nuria Alvarez Lombardero

As Mexico City has grown to become one of the world's most sprawling metropolises, its population has increased in exponential terms. The results of the city's endless urbanisation are distressing, with an unequal distribution of infrastructure and services, both visible and invisible barriers and daily commutes that cover extraordinarily long distances. Yet this seemingly unmanaged megalopolis is rethinking itself through the new CDMX Plan that proposes to insert 40,000 new homes a year into the existing urban fabric between now and 2030. And yet the plan does not address the biggest challenge: social inclusion. In a city dominated by its own informality, there is a need to both articulate and reimagine the living conditions of emerging social structures beyond the assumed possible horizon of housing commodification. Intermediate Unit 8 therefore proposes a new line of densification - a hyperwall that exploits existing infrastructural, natural and socio-spatial conditions to break through the barriers that hijack the informal megalopolis. Students will make individual proposals for snaky, mixed-use strips related to city infrastructures (ranging from 1-3km long and 20 x 50m in width) with a relevant housing component for an estimated 5,000 users. Examples of linear urban configurations - such as Ciudad Lineal by Soria, the Sotsgorod by Miliutin, Le Corbusier's Cité linéaire, Affonso Eduardo Reidy's Pedregulho Housing Complex, and L'illa by Rafael Moneo and Manuel de Solà-Morales - will be scrutinised to understand this urban typology. Like the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, these urban proposals will delineate sinuous linear intervals along conditions of supposed mutual exclusion - between humans and nature, politics and economy, life and death. Intermediate 8 Intermediate 8 Projects Review installation, 2017 Unit

Unit Staff

Francisco González de Canales and Nuria Álvarez Lombardero are co-founders of Canales & Lombardero and Politics of Fabrication. Francisco studied architecture and theory at ETSA Seville, ETSA Barcelona and Harvard University, and worked for Foster + Partners and Rafael Moneo. Nuria studied architecture and urbanism at ETSA Madrid and the AA and worked for Machado & Silvetti Associates. Both have lectured and published widely and are co-authors of Politics and digital fabrication: an ongoing debate (2017).

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