The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement.  This semester has been nearly a 180 from last semester.  Now, most of my classes are focused on reading, writing, and understanding, as compared to last semester’s emphasis on the making of architecture and the understanding of how the tools we use affect what we produce.  I am currently taking four classes in the architecture department, including:  Studio VI, Professional Practice, Architectural Theory, and Computer Applications for Buildings.  My fifth class is a Construction Engineering in the Civil Engineering department, which is a labor management class.  I am also the GSI for Construction Contracting, in CEE.  Thus you can see that my interests and experiences lie between our disciplines of architecture and the construction.  I, however, believe that architecture and construction are becoming more tightly integrated and that the kind of division between these will at some point cease to exist, as the architect gains greater control over the construction process through new technology.

My studio, Megacentralities, is focused on the Cetrams of  Mexico city, gigantic transportation hubs, which “process”  – as coined from our theory readings of Kittler, City is a Medium, – as many as 500,000 people per day.  The studio is divided into five different teams, with each focusing on a different aspect of the Cetram stations, including Housing, Infrastructure, Demographics, Informality, and Transportation.  My group, informality, is focused on mapping the much of the informal economy surrounding the cetrams.  These informal vendors strategically occupy land worthy of selling to passer-bys.  As we are beginning to identify, there are a number of different patterns of their development.  Some of these aggregates of informal vendors serve only those people passing through the cetrams, while others are part of the economy of local neighborhoods.  Why is this of relevance to us architects?  Not only is the cetram a type of building which architect’s realistically will need to address in the future, it provides an interesting model of a place which rests between many different uses, and is at once intimately connected to existing transportation, and harshly cut off from the surrounding neighborhoods.  It is formalized and informal, and this complexity poses us with this kind of microcosm for us to work as an architect.  It is not that we wish to impose upon this system, but through mapping, begin understanding its processes so that these can be more finely tuned.

Mapping of three cetram stations of Mexico City