Atmospheres: Urban Island - FONCA Jóvenes Creadores 2006


This research project was developed with the support of the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes during a one year sponsorship part of the Jovenes Creadores program. The result opened a wide range of possibilities of development in the area, as well as a sensibility towards street life in Mexico City.

Driving along Revolucion and Patriotismo, two parallel, very important avenues in Mexico City, is one of the most frequent traverses I daily make. These axis run through the geographical center of the capital. Its traffic is sometimes fluent and sometimes not. During the hours of relented traffic, I question myself about whatever happens in between these two avenues. For me, this area is an “Urban Island”. What is its character? What spaces does it hide? Do they have any aesthetic value? Would it be worth to show them? How are they useful for the city?

The development of this exercise consists on proposing a series of promenades around this Urban Island in order to find several special “quality nodes.” These nodes, or specific spaces, when visited one after the other, should be able to transmit the essence of the area.
In my navigations, I found twelve nodes. I made a photographic registration of them, as well as several atmospheric models. After analyzing and visiting them several times, I realized that they could have the quality of monuments, as Robert Smithson’s MONUMENTS OF PASSAIC. Therefore I thought about the possibility of analyzing them using some of Smithson’s proposed methods for suburban areas.

The result is a proposal for walking around this Urban Island. What makes it different from other promenades is that this way of traversing it conforms it as one whole body. While making this walk, one stops on the different nodes and contemplates. One breaths, as the design in the pavement does, thickening and narrowing itself. The path is an “instrument for reading the site.” As Sebastien Marot would say about Georges Decombes work: “…a map addressed not to the bird’s eye view, but to the thinking body of the walker, engaged in the breadth and depth of the territory…” (Marot, 2003)


Scale model of the project.

Project notepad.

Route of the Urban Island.

Exhibit at the UNAM Faculty of Architecture.