urban prototypes A Research Cluster of the Architectural Association

urban prototypes

AA Mexico Visiting School ‘Prototypical Networks’






















July 2012

Director: Jose Alfredo Ramirez

Building upon a body of research established in its first year, the visiting school will continue its engagement with Mexico City from an infrastructural point of view taking advantage of the challenges and opportunities it poses/offers for the viability of one of the biggest metropolis on earth. The workshop will be constructed around key infrastructural issues such as the “Recovering of Waterscapes” and the “Reinforcement of Mobility Networks”. They will form the spine for the intervention through PROTOTYPICAL strategies within a tactical URBANISM framework.

The objective will be the development of an “urban prototype” capable of accommodating change and a degree of indeterminacy within the design process which will acquire its specificity by means of its on-site materialization. Paradigms of self-organized systems, distributed networks and uprising complexity will be introduced through systemic based design techniques, setting up counter models to conventional urban planning. The idea of an urban prototype will be discussed in a twofold manner, in terms of its temporal repercussions: on the one hand the sense of urgency that Mexico City is confronting right now to provide immediate solutions, while on the other, laying out the foundations for long term infrastructural strategies.

The workshop will offer students the opportunity to develop their skills through different strategies based on the exploration of local conditions, engineering techniques, material processes, and the experimentation with digital, fabrication and representational tools.    Added to this a series of lectures and seminars will be organized alongside site visits to major infrastructural works around the city.

A Symposium on “Prototypical Networks” will take place in April 2012 prior to the Visiting School in Summer to offer and introduction for the students and the opportunity to local and international experts to discuss and critical asses the relevance of the topic.


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