During the spring 2018 semester, Tatiana Bilbao’s studio collaborated with thirteen architecture studios in Mexico and the United States on an ambitious project that examined, researched, and introduced architectural issues related to the United States and Mexico. At a moment where issues of migration are at the forefront of political discourse and while NAFTA is being renegotiated, this overdue examination is an urgent challenge to architectural education. In almost every way the two countries perform as a region. And although the economy, infrastructure, languages, history, and cultures are shared, the current political climate emphasizes sharp differences across the border. To redefine and reimagine the region as an integrated whole is a critical project for architectural, political, and cultural institutions today.
The exhibition will focus on selected work by students of all the studios. The academic initiative is organized into five overall topics: territorial economies, migration, housing and cities, tourism, and creative industries and local production. Within those themes each studio professor selected a line of investigation. The show features models, maps, collages, and conceptual drawings that altogether convey the breadth of the architectural issues and challenges. Construction models for a catalog, urban plans for downtown Monterrey, and conceptual border scenarios in El Paso will all be presented in various student projects. As the centerpiece of the exhibition, photographer Iwan Baan was commissioned to travel to each of the studio sites to capture the changing landscapes and architecture’s role in culture. These photographs reinforce the academic research by documenting the conditions of life for the people on both sides of a border and reflecting the architectural opportunities offered by these scenarios.
Coordinated by Tatiana Bilbao, a visiting faculty member at the Yale School of Architecture, the exhibition is designed and curated by NILE, the design office of Nile Greenberg, who taught with Bilbao during the spring semester at GSAPP.