Housing Matters: The House and the City

Photo Credit: Jaime Navarro, 2016

Cities continue to evolve into ever more complex and densely populated areas. As urban areas grow organically, providing affordable housing has become one of the most pressing issues in our present day architectural agenda. However, technology, data collection, and rationalism, have been unable thus far to come up with answers to the viral growth of informal urbanism that occurs in much of the world. Cities of the future must be ready for unpredictable shifts in social and spatial structures.

In Mexico, the housing stock numbers over 30 million, but with a population of 120 million and one of the fastest growth rates in Latin America, the housing shortage constitutes a total of 9 million homes. Much of the new additions to the housing stock are informally built with poor quality and, more importantly, lack basic access to urban services or a community. This is an unsustainable condition. During this lecture, award-winning Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao will explore case studies that, through a rigorous investigation of the social and economic landscapes, have sought to provide low-cost solutions of high spatial quality, that can be deployed to with a meaningful positive impact.

About the presenter:
The work of Tatiana Bilbao Estudio begins by analyzing its immediate local context translating rigid social codes into architecture through a multicultural, multidisciplinary perspective. In a reaction to global capitalism’s alienating spatial products her work attempts to regenerate and humanize places, opening up niches for economic and cultural development.

The studio’s architectural work includes: the Culiacán Botanical Garden, for which we carried out the site plan and designed the service buildings; the Pilgrimage Route in Jalisco, a project where we led a group of international architects to retrofit a religious trail with the necessary service infrastructure and where she built an open-air chapel; the Biotechnological Center, a business incubator-laboratory for a private university; the Sustainable House, the social housing prototype displayed at the 2015 Chicago Biennial that costs under $8,000; among other projects.

Ms. Bilbao’s work has been recognized internationally with awards such as the Kunstpreis Berlin in 2012 and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2014. She cherishes the opportunity to engage with students and has taught as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Architecture, Rice School of Architecture, and Columbia GSAPP. Her work has been published in A+U, GA Houses, Domus, and The New York Times, among others.

About this series:
More than simply shining a light on the District’s ongoing affordable housing crisis, the Housing Matters series features speakers and case studies from here and abroad that offer real-world solutions that could make an impact here in DC.

How can designers, developers, and architects lead this initiative to better serve the needs of low- and middle-income residents and families? Join us at Housing Matters to find out.

Co-sponsored by: