Yesterday, roads were blocked for México City’s pride parade celebration, and today the air is sweet.
I am almost up to speed with the logs – this post will sum up the last few days. We visited Los Pinos, the (former) presidents’ estate in Chapultepec Park, with Jan and Tania. It was emptied and opened to the public upon Amlo’s inauguration last year, because he is not living there, so it is a strange place. Tania and Alberto have more input about past presidential offices as native Mexicans, but it has been clear that environmental issues stem from political play.
The house is massive – built from the outside in, it has rhinoceros proportions and weird circulation. Tania jokes that it is metaphoric of past presidencies: fancy shell, empty content, as common knowledge.
Our talk with architect Carlos Bedoya, founder of firm Productora and gallery LIGA, granted insight to how a CDMX-based architectural firm functions in mind of CDMX’s environmental issues and how they use their gallery platform in combat. Carlos recognizes the problem of development in México City, where the title of architect is torn between to build or not to build, adapt or comply, change the discourse direction. We agreed that in this case, much of what’s new works against saving the world – that architecture in the hand of mass developers seeking investment may not be the answer. It’s a difficult problem if we are to gaze through an architectural lens for post-rural, but one we are attempting to piece together for a responsible outcome.
Carlos spoke to us about the renovation Productora and LIGA’s office and gallery space, which lies amidst an old factory shared by other businesses (factory campus not pictured for privacy, as was under construction during our visit). He mentioned the efforts to retrofit green aspects to the property, which lies under Productora’s design instruction, and the factory owner’s qualification for business tenants to include programming for public engagement within their missions. For Productora, that means LIGA – and Carlos was excited to tell us about their upcoming exhibition (an open call for imaginary machines) about water in México City. Through LIGA, and work for other cultural institutions, the firm experiments through space and program how to communicate messages to the public sphere – a critical and complex tool in architecture.
Joaquín, architectural writer and educator at CENTRO, spoke to one of his teaching tactics for non-architects: the case-study of Carso neighborhood in Polanco – an area developed by millionaire Carlos Slim – and its border conditions, which differ drastically because of social and economic inequalities. We took the next day to visit that area, which included a visit to the Anthropology Museum, Museo Jumex, and Museo Soumaya (a gift from Carlos Slim to a later wife). I recalled another conversation with Elena Tudela about a linear park she and her firm developed for this area, and the complications it prompted as it crossed from very rich areas to poor ones.