babel blog

Boundary Conditions
August 16, 2008, 10:00 pm
Filed under: architecture, photography

Just occasionally I find a book where I’d rather look at the pictures than read the text. Happily, this is probably the intent with Verb, an architectural publication which is described by its publishers as a boogazine. This weird colliding and coalescence of the words book and magazine can be effectively translated as a book that’s relatively light on content but has fantastic photography to make up for it. The edition that caught my eye was the one entitled Crisis. Crisis explores the way growing urbanisation presents unique architectural challenges as population growth and movement expands far more quickly than the systems in place to deal with it can adapt. Teddy Cruz, an architect working in the borderlands of San Diego/Tijuana, has a particularly interesting perspective, arguing that that the top-down imposition of USA-style suburban housing onto the rapidly expanding and merging immigrant communities in SD, can only have an alienating effect. He favours a much more reciprocal style of architectural development fusing the informality and vibrancy of Tijuana style shanty towns with good infrastructure and robust design. There’s an article about this guy in the New York Times entitled Shantytowns as New Suburban Ideal, this title might be slightly misleading: it sounds as though there’s something glamorous about living with your family in space that’s probably smaller, and definitely less well equipped, than your average garden shed here in the UK. Don’t let it deter you, it’s worth a read and if you do get to read any of Cruz’s own articles I think you’ll agree that he’s got a pretty good idea of the realities of life in shit housing and restrictions that accompany poverty. It’s just that he has the sense to see that there’s so much more to the way people live than can be determined simply by how much money they possess. Anyway I have plagiarised one of his pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Teddy Cruz - Tijuana

Teddy Cruz - Tijuana


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