Spring 2015

The Comprehensive Landscape Architecture studio will explore the integration of ecological systems with social systems. This will be done in projects which will transition from a large urban/ecological planning scale to a site specific design scale. Local realities pertaining to ecology and society will be articulated through the use of local construction methods and materials, socio-economic contexts, and an urban structure based on natural systems.
To do this, the studio will work on 2 main projects. One is a one month long, 4 week, project while the second project will take the rest of the semester, equivalent to 11 weeks.
The first project will work on the design for a competition submission to the annual international design competition organized by the Mexican Architecture and Design magazine called “Arquine”. This year, the competition calls for the “Eastern Metropolitan Green Lung: Conversion of the (FUTURE EX) Airport of Mexico City”[1]. The Mexican Federal Government recently announced the construction of a new airport for Mexico City[2][3][4]. With it, the current old airport site –of over 1,700 acres- will be left as an opportunity to provide with direly needed amenities, public space, and infrastructure[5]. The most obvious infrastructural system being water management as the site is adjacent to the Texcoco lakebed, the lowest elevation point in a watershed housing over 20 million people.
Working in Mexico, in socio-economically challenged urban areas, and with water infrastructure projects will be constant in this studio.
The second project will work on a Green Corridor System for the City of Hermosillo, in the state of Sonora, Mexico[6]. This project, to be referred to as HMOGC (Hermosillo’s Green Corridors) will develop an urban scale plan for the proposed network working mostly on the existing water drainage channels, both artificial and natural. These drainage-ways will be complemented by other urban systems such as the street and transportation system and rights of way for pipelines and railroads. From the plan, the studio will identify corridor typologies in order to design site specific sections/areas of the green corridors. These corridor solutions should be able to mitigate urban pollution, improve the environment, provide with public spaces of quality and sustainable mobility alternatives for pedestrians and bicycles.
For this project, the studio will work in collaboration with the Municipal Planning Institute of Hermosillo (IMPLAN) http://www.implanhermosillo.gob.mx/metro/ .
IMPLAN is very interested on developing ideas for this unique opportunity for Hermosillo. The existing water infrastructure network of Hermosillo has already been recently studied by IMPLAN[7] in a Strategic Water Management Plan (available only in Spanish).
The studio will work simultaneously with another student group from the Technological Institute of Monterrey in Hermosillo (ITESM HMO) who will also collaborate with IMPLAN.
There are no precedents in Hermosillo for this project, therefore, the importance and potential impact of the work to be done.
This project comes from a current research project being developed by Professor Diaz Montemayor. Descriptively titled “Towards an Urban Structure Based on Natural Systems in Northern Mexican Cities: Which Way to Go? Green Corridors or Mobility Corridors? This research project will evaluate existing conditions in two cities that share similar opportunities for the development of green corridor networks, Hermosillo and Mexicali. For a multiplicity of reasons, both cities have been unable to activate their superficial water management systems as an urban amenity. The projects to be developed in this studio will contribute to the research project and vice versa.

[1] The competition website http://www.arquine.com/en/concurso/concurso-arquine-no-17-pulmon-metropo...
[2] The winning architect’s announcement http://www.fosterandpartners.com/news/archive/2014/09/httpwwwfosterandpa...
[3] The Federal Government information website for the New Airport project http://www.aeropuerto.gob.mx/
[4] The other winning architect’s announcement http://fr-ee.org/mexico-city-airport/
[5] A short article about the topic by Professor Gabriel Diaz Montemayor published in the ASLA’s blog The Dirt http://dirt.asla.org/2014/12/05/an-opportunity-for-a-regenerative-new-ai...
[6] General information about Hermosillo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermosillo
[7] http://www.implanhermosillo.gob.mx/metro/#!/DrenajePluvial


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