Miquel Adrià: Contemporary Mexican architecture (February 26, 1999)

Miquel Adrià begins by discussing the changing views of modern Mexican architecture. He discusses the role of colonialism in establishing building types and trajectory. He comments on the role of landscape, materials and pre-Hispanic traditions in Mexican architectural heritage. Adrià notes the conflict between nationalistic trends and imported International Style, and discusses the significance of Luis Barragán.

Adrià continues his lecture by presenting additional projects, including examples by Teodoro González de León as examples of the influence of international architecture on Mexico. He comments on de León’s heritage and connection to Le Corbusier and his role in creating large scale public projects. De León’s projects often incorporated urban spaces inside his works as an extension of the city. Adrià discusses the issues of scale and an intentional distortion that relied on the adjacent urbanism for context. Adrià speaks about de León’s materiality, and the use of concrete versus marble in his work.

Adrià concludes his lecture by discussing contemporary Mexican architecture including work by Alberto Kalach. He presents Kalach’s project connecting a building with an internal round courtyard to a subway station below and comments on the feeling of compression achieved. Adrià then presents projects by Enrique Norten’s Ten Arquitectos, commenting on their success in creating compositions of elements of simple shapes with programmatic complexity. He goes on to present a Ten Arquitectos project of an elliptical shape, unrelated to structure, for a television station. He follows his lecture with a question and answer segment.


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