On January of 2014 will be the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA. Many conditions have been transformed over the last 18 years: markets have opened new areas of exchange, economic flows have increased, multiple transnational programs have been activated and/or unlocked, still political, social and ecological tensions have grown as well.
Especially, the border between Mexico and the U.S. has not been rethought in such a prolific way. Conversely, this ‘line’ is continuously loaded with actions and misconceptions that continue deferring the potential that these tensions might signify.
The Borderless Workshop aims to address the topic of the border beyond its physical limits between Mexico and the US, but as the gateway to Latin America: a real and elastic buffer of tension and collaborative work along its path; a space of transnational and bidirectional forces.
Where everything started.
The idea of border-less started as a project within the GSD Latino Collective (student group) at the Graduate School of Design. Laura Janka, Víctor Muñoz, Angel Rodríguez and myself had as goal during our urban design program to promote and disseminate Latin American design and architecture practices within the GSD community. During the Fall of 2010 and Spring of 2011 we organized a series of events, conversations and exhibitions that reflected (but also questioned) the current and potential dynamic of the Mexican-American border as the gateway to Latin America.
About the BLW team
Paola D. Aguirre grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico. She is an architect graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arquitectura y Diseño de Chihuahua (ISAD), and urban designer from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Paola’s professional experience includes a two-year collaboration with the office E+B Arquitectura in Chihuahua, three years in the Municipal Planning Institute of Chihuahua coordinating the 2040 Urban Development Plan for Chihuahua City, and two years of teaching urbanism seminars at ISAD with focus in public spaces. Paola’s research continues focusing on urban mobility, public spaces and renewable energy systems looking for intersections between architecture, urban design, infrastructure and landscape.
I grew up in the largest border State in Mexico, Chihuahua. My personal experience and professional career has always been influence by a transnational condition. The uniqueness of the inhabitants of this territory relies in our ability to understand simultaneity, flows and exchange; therefore, our constant nature of adaptation and need of movement.
Laura Janka grew up in Germany and Mexico. She is an architect graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de México, and the Escuela Técnica Superior de Madrid; and urban designer from the Harvard Graduated School of Design. Laura has focused her professional and personal interests on urbanism and, in particular, public space and sustainable development. Her professional experience includes the coordination of the Federal Public Spaces Recuperation Program within the Urban Development and Housing Ministry in Mexico City; and the Center for Sustainable Transportation (CTS-Mexico) in their Department of Mobility and Urban Development. Laura has been awarded the Jóvenes Creadores grant from the Fondo Nacional para la Cultural y las Artes (FONCA) in 2005, and the Mexico City‐China Fellowship Program in 2007, conducting research in Beijing and Hong Kong for four months for a public space and pedestrian planning project.
She has been and continues being a consultant for the Mexico City Government as part of the Ciudad MX Project and the Atlas of Public Space. She is also currently leading the collaborative project196,925m based in Mexico City.