Advanced Design Studio: Bilbao

Project Description

The Mexican community of Villas Otoch has a high rate of abandonment due to the transitory nature of many migrant workers seeking wage labor in the tourism industry of Cancun. Many of the migrants are from indigenous communities, and their traditional community practices are hindered by the monotonous housing stock with poor ventilation and little communal outdoor space. We are proposing an indigenous university that will provide more localized employment opportunities while also empowering residents with a means to pass on and sustain traditional knowledge in an urban setting. This new university type would enable education practices to blend with home life and be distributed throughout the neighborhood at the scale of a room. The university includes prototypes for housing that renovate the existing structures to double the amount of shaded outdoor space while still maintaining approximately the same density. University incubators, also designed to plug into the existing fabric, will create sorely needed community gathering spaces as well as accommodate the programs of the five schools proposed: Culinary Arts, Agriculture, Education, Entrepreneurship, and Arts and Crafts. Both the housing and university prototypes will encourage residents to build on the second floor, opening up additional communal, shaded living spaces on the ground level. The new buildings use readily available local materials and construction methods in innovative ways. For example, screen walls constructed of concrete block will allow for ventilation while also creating visual place-markers and a sense of identity among the otherwise ubiquitous concrete block buildings. A pedestrian network made of porous pavers will also contribute to identity and way-finding, while additionally alleviating storm water issues. The university components and associated housing will be built first, and then the existing fabric is expected to incrementally morph over time.