Studios in Mexico have a long history in the School of Architecture at UT Austin. For many years, students have traveled to Mexico and learned about aspects of Mexican culture while getting involved in an architectural project. These studios are an opportunity to know a small portion of the neighbor country and getting immersed in issues related to contemporary architectural practices at the international level.
In this Design Studio, we will embark on a transformative project within the UNESCO-designated Global Geopark “Cerro de las Navajas” in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico. Tasked with crafting a cultural-heritage-sensitive visitor center, students will be challenged to honor the region's rich history while harmonizing with its unique landscape, integrating traditional construction methods for sustainable development.
The Global Geopark in Hidalgo is a treasure trove of geological, ecological, and cultural significance. As a protected area, it offers immense learning opportunities for education, scientific research, and tourism. In this studio, students will immerse themselves in the geopark's context, grasping its geological wonders and connecting with the indigenous communities' narratives that have shaped the land over generations. Emphasizing environmental consciousness, students will explore innovative ways to minimize the center's ecological impact and engage with local communities to ensure a harmonious design process that respects their heritage.
Guided by a commitment to sustainability and cultural preservation, students will delve into traditional construction techniques and materials employed by the locals. By integrating such practices, the visitor center will seamlessly blend with its surroundings, paying homage to the region's historical roots. Through this experience, students will cultivate their communication skills and gain insights into the intricacies of professional architecture, preparing them to meet real-world challenges and shape a future that honors the cultural heritage and natural wonders of the Global Geopark in Hidalgo.