Lola Lozano Lara

Supervisors: Pier Vittorio Aureli, Maria Giudici

The thesis considers the notion of vicinity, observed within the historic and legislative context of housing in Mexico City. A vecindad in Mexico is a building typology that allows a group of households to share domestic facilities through a central street. Vecindad translates to neighbourhood, stemming from the Spanish vecino which in English means, both, neighbour and close, alluding to proximity, a relationship of close distance. 

The thesis is an investigation of domestic space and the relentless and unplanned accumulation of itself in the metropolitan city, focusing in Mexico City as a model of this condition, highlighting the state of living in extreme vicinity and raising the question of sharing what is perceived as a finite resource in the metropolitan city: housing. The existing housing stock in Mexico City does not satisfy the volume of the population. The number of inhabitants is a factor, and yet it is not the root of the problem. The crisis is engrained within a political system of reigning bureaucracy, resulting in a way of life where misfortune is inevitable and normalised.

The study looks closely at the architecture typologies in which inhabitants have been housed within the city, paying close attention to how these result in the redistribution of space and services through necessity and commodification, rather than through design. The investigation traces the history of Mexico as a newly sovereign state, autonomous since the consolidation of its first Constitution in 1821, and provides an understanding of its initial housing legislation and the instrumental reforms that will follow to enable its current ruthless and futile development of real estate. The research responds to the need of finding ways to contain the population in metropolitan areas of unlimited and unstoppable physical growth, where a perception of scarcity is promoted in relation to space, wealth, infrastructure, and time – in turn, fostering the image of an unsolvable problem and justifying the dissolution of a possibility for domestic space.

Biography: Lola is a practicing architect working in London and Mexico City. She graduated from the AA Diploma, having previously completed her Bachelor studies at Newcastle University. Alongside her architectural practice, Lola is enrolled as PhD Candidate at the AA and teaches at various UK universities. She is Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University co-leading DS7 on the MArchD course; Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster MA Interior Architecture; and collaborates with the BA Technical Studies and Professional Practice courses at the Bartlett and the AA.