by Jincy IypeDec 27, 2022
Elke Krasny, an Austrian cultural and architectural theorist, in her work Critical Care: Architecture and Urbanism for Broken Planet, along with Angelika Fitz, establishes how “Architecture provides a primary form of care.” An interpretation of this ideology is at the core of Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO’s work. Tatiana Bilbao founded her eponymous studio in 2004 after her role as an Advisor in the Ministry of Development and Housing of the Government of the Federal District of Mexico City.
Disillusioned by the bureaucracy and concurrent political agenda of the powers that be, Bilbao focused her attention on creating architecture that would enhance human experience by facilitating good health, consciousness, and knowledge.
In conversation with STIR, the Mexican architect expresses her disdain for architecture that is informed by capitalist structures and stresses on the importance of designing towards creating social justice, stronger communities, and a healthy ecosystem. Her projects discard typified spatial and programmatic organisations to create spaces that question existing hierarchies—social as well as spatial.
In Ways of Life, the brief asked for a domestic space that would accommodate a cohesive live-work relationship. The studio recognises domestic care and reproductive labour as instances of spaces that have historically combined live-work scenarios, and responds by understanding what kind of activities and emotions a space can promote, instead of focusing on the program of the space.
The concept for each project is extracted through the physical act of hand drawings, which Bilbao believes—helps her manifest ideas of the physical world. Through a series of models and montages composed of hand drawings and digital photographs, an iterative design process emerges. The Mexico-based architecture studio, however, eschews the binaries between analogue and digital. She believes that humans are not binary but in fact operate as processes, grades, scales, and moments. She thus concludes that tools—both digital as well as analogue—have a specific purpose.
Subsequently, Bilbao elaborates on her concept of a future city, a city she believes should be perceived as a post-carbon city, or a city of care. She stresses on the importance of a critical disposition and advocates questioning existing canons, in order to bring about a change in the status quo.
Tap on the cover video to watch the full conversation.