28.1.08

end of suburbia (well, maybe)


when (young couples) buy a house and have a baby, though hardly realizing it, they come into their purchasing stage, and are off on a wild non-stop ride...

It’s a happy-go-spending world!

so go... watch.

22.1.08

scream! scream! kill!



so much is happening these days it just feels stupid to talk about architecture. i'm sorry. does this happen to those of you who are architects out there? does whatever you normally do or dedicate yourself to seem suddenly pointless? it happens to me all the time, usually in cycles. it drives me crazy sometimes. thank god for screamandkill.com

14.1.08

mexico shrinking city


“a cleaner, safer and healthier mexico…” is what president calderón promised last may, as he planted a baby tree into the dirt, and announced the construction of the parque bicentenario (bicentennial park) on the site of the former 18 de marzo refinery in azcapotzalco (march 18 is the commemorative day of mexico’s nationalization and public monopolization of oil industries, in 1938). with the notable absence of mexico city mayor marcelo ebrard, calderón presented a plan for a park, a renewable energy museum and an aquarium as part of the urban improvement strategy to pour a little life into this much-neglected area which once stood as the industrial heart of the city.

mexico city is commonly recognized as a monster megalopolis, but actually, some parts of the city are shrinking. azcapotzalco, along with other inner-city areas, has been steadily loosing population since the 1980s. the city has tried to fight the emptying of these areas with measures such as the bando dos (edict 2), implemented in 2000 and dropped last year after criticism surrounding speculation, which restricted the construction of new housing in the city to the central delegaciones. azcapotzalco has had its share of hopeful regeneration projects, such as the recent tecnoparque, a wannabe cutting-edge office park built in an old industrial lot.

despite the efforts, azcapotzalco still has an eerie character, the whole area gives out a sense of abandon. the metro refinería, once a key transport node for the local industrial workforce, is now practically a ghost station, a striking underground vault with a four-story electrical escalator worthy of a futurist film set, hanging under an enormous concrete dome, plunging down more than 30 mts into the ground, peopleless.

truth is, before they can breath life into the district, authorities have to make sure they wont be killing the life they want to bring in. when it comes to site remediation, it's pretty clear that ornamental trees aren't enough to do the trick.

11.1.08

bicentenario... park?



many of us have heard of the little miscarriage oma suffered with its project for the torre bicentenario. few of us outside of mexico city, though, have heard of a probably soon-to-be dropped plan-b megaproject for the celebration of mexico's 200 year independence: the bicentenario "ecological" park. the thing is this is a federal government-backed project, not a city government one (again, the president and the mayor are from feuding parties). the project for the park is set for the former site of an immense refinery, shut down in 1991 by president salinas de gortari, mainly due to environmental concerns.

plans again are most likely bound to fall into a major political scuffle and to be surrounded by shadiness and intrigue. in the meantime, i'll dig a little into the story of what might just be the city's most exciting architectural and urban planning failure of the year.

10.1.08

i had a dream

it was nighttime. avenida revolución ran like a mad electrical river after a downpour. i couldn't tell if it was tomorrow or the day donitz surrendered to the allies. i had nothing in my flat but a mattress with white sheets, a kitchen table and the ancient moldy bathtub. the building was silent as usual, since they closed the picture theater anyways. i'd slept all morning. the guy who killed trotsky slept in too once here after a long night of conspiring and sweating and dreaming everything went wrong and he got killed himself or real red revolution was permanently stalled. the elevator guy wasn't there. i closed the door myself and looked at the pink and purple xmas lights surrounding the miniature virgin on the corner. i hit the groundfloor, walked out and the street was suddenly empty. the only person in sight was the girl behind the sleepy green-tinted counter of the 24h café shanghai, staring at the goldfish tank under the aluminum dragon/ventilation duct. as i walked away, the ermita seemed to bend down little by little, crumbling on top of me.

3.1.08

breakdown

to all you greenies out there, crying yippie for all of the "greenscrapers" and "treescrapers" and god knows what other heinous architectural thingamajigs popping up everywhere...

why don't you break it down first...