On Aug. 19, the Nora Sotres Gallery in Roma Norte opened the exhibit “Arquitectura como intervención” (Architecture as Intervention), featuring architectural projects that privilege social, cultural and environmental responsibility. The recently-opened gallery represents artists that are “actively engaged in a vibrant dialogue with the world around them.”
In collaboration with The Metropolitan Center of Sustainable Architecture, the gallery brings together five firms, most of which are based in Mexico City, that the center had previously worked with and which have in recent years used architecture to intervene in their respective urban landscapes. The connection between all these projects is a fundamental understanding of architectural interventions as capable of transforming the social fabric of a given space, or an understanding that “within an urban context, every architectural or design intervention — like an artistic one — affects the fragile relationship between individuals and their surroundings.” The projects range from large university buildings to benches in public outdoor spaces, showcasing different interpretations of urban interventions that promote interactions with both the built environment and the social one, that challenge hierarchical systems and ultimately that assert the political implications of architecture by democratizing good design.
“Colegio de la Imagen Pública” (School of the Public Image), is a project located in Mexico City by Serrano Monjaraz Arquitectos that combines aesthetic innovation with environmentally sustainable practices in an eight-floor university building. With a roof garden, LED lights, natural illumination, and energy efficient appliances, the project prioritizes sustainable design. However, the large ambulatory pathways and open staircases on either sides of the building promote interaction between students and professors while also maintaining private spaces to facilitate productivity.
Another project located in Polanco, “Recuperación de espacios residuales” (Recuperation of Spaces of Residual Use) by the architecture firm Buró Verde works with the idea that a pedestrian or cyclist should be able take refuge in a safe and beautiful space. While the project, at a major intersection, acts as an intermediary space, it brings green space to an otherwise concrete location.
The curator’s statement notes an explicit attempt to reposition architecture within the realm of contemporary critique, asking the viewer to question the possibilities for architecture to act as catalysts for social, cultural and political exchanges. The exhibit ultimately challenges the viewer to read their built environment differently, conscious of the possibilities that interventions in our built environment have in determining social, political and economic conditions.
The project presents architecture firms that participate in DesignWeek Mexico which will take place in Oct. 5-9 in various museums and spaces across Mexico City.
There will be a conversations led by LAND on September 1st and another conversation on Sept. 8 at Nora Sotres Gallery.
Nora Sotres Gallery is located on Calle Mérida 16, Roma Norte, Ciudad de México. The gallery is open Mon.-Fri. 11-17hrs and Sat.-Sun. by appointment. Admission is free. The exhibit runs from Aug. 19 to Sept. 14.