Architecture and transformation in Mexico City’s UNAM University Campus

Alejandro Leal, Bruno Cruz, Alejandro Pérez-Duarte


Architecture in permanent transformation is the starting point of this article, focused on the interaction between material and social aspects of a case study on modern Mexican housing, observing the building’s life in relation to its inhabitants. The Multifamily Apartment Building for Teachers (Multifamiliar para maestros), a faculty housing building at the UNAM campus, is a mid-twentieth-century experimental housing project, developed at the beginning of Mexico City´s densification. Today it is registered in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The case study sheds some important insights into the transformations of a spatial modern utopia facing inhabitants' needs. Numerous differences were detected between the original idea behind the building’s architecture and the reality of its users today, revealing not only the ambiguous nature of the building but also problems derived from the country’s accelerated modernization. The results show contrasting approaches of the intermediate space between the building’s conception, and the constant process of becoming a home, where the scope of its habitability is negotiated. 


Mexican architecture; modern housing; Mexico City; processual nature of architecture; habitability

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