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REI is a project to connect mexican cities through highways and information paths in order to develop a more interactive cultural response in its… Read More
REI is a project to connect mexican cities through highways and information paths in order to develop a more interactive cultural response in its society. Read Less
Published:
REI _ exploratory information network
{2006 / 6th semester }
REI
Red de Exposición Informática

In imagining a Mexico of tomorrow, one must look to the role in which Mexico is expected to play in the increasingly globalized world economy. Mexico has traditionally been seen as a raw material provider (along with the majority of its southern neighbors), one whose main assets were it’s wealth of raw physical materials and pool of cheap labour, and not for the skills, ideas or technological prowess of its inhabitants. Foreign colonial interests were content to rob the land of its resources and invest little to nothing in the lives or culture of Mexicans.

In looking forward, then, one would hope to allow Mexico a greater share of the burgeoning informational high-tech global economy. This would mean developing a nationwide educational network and increasing the high-tech skills of the population. As such, we are proposing as networked series of interconnected high-tech\low-cost pavilions in place of one large fixed building to celebrate 200 years of Mexican independence.

Speaking purely economically, as opposed to developing one large flamboyant architectural showpiece costing, say, 30 million dollars we can produce 30 low cost pavilions each costing 1 million (including wages to hire local workers, and instructors to offer technology-based learning courses etc) based upon a modular series of construction materials (to be distributed as kits). This would allow a greater percentage of the population access to the tools and resources of the initiative.
 
In developing a modular construction system, we would also be able to tailor the scale of the building to the scale and needs of the community. Modular components could also be assembled in a variety of orientations to account for local climatic and environmental conditions.
 
This series of pavilions could not be considered a museum, and instead has a decidedly inward, community oriented focus. It is not meant to attract external tourists, but instead to act as a new physical (in the local sense) and virtual (in the national sense) community hall for each of the individual communities, which are then interconnected in a way in which to provide a national web of communication and development.
 
ARCHITECTONICS

In the combination of connections and circulation, diagrammatically, we look for the form from which the building should derive. The pavilions are to be placed at the outer edge of established communities, where the presence of a major vehicular artery begins to change the structure of the city away from a round nucleus of urban activity and into a linear city. This is also where the majority of the marginalized, transitional (and generally illegal) population is located. As many critics, including Marianna Waisman, have discussed; the biggest conflict of the new century will be the conflict between urbanism and ruralism, and how we are to address the ring of poverty which surrounds urban Latin American settlements. This would naturally seem to be the location where a new educational centre of this type would be most effective.
 
Since we are also developing the pavilions to be nuclei of virtual traffic, we imagine the type of wave-based interference which would develop if the invisible waves of information conglomerating around the pavilions were allowed to interact with the very physical waves of human circulation. We also imagine the correlation between the connections of the physical landscape, manifested by the roads, pipes, wires etc and of the constantly shifting virtual connections of the internet and of the relationships or the community members.
For the final form of the pavilions we then look to represent a built manifestation of interplay between physical and virtual circulation and interconnectedness.

As a rapid overview of our formal analysis, there exist four main types of connections: parallel connections, series connections, serial (central, radial) connections, and multiple, decentralized networks (such as the model of internet servers, with instantaneous re-routing and reconnection in case any portion fails). We couple this analysis with the branching forms of circulation diagrams (traffic, informational, etc), and find inspiration for the built form of the pavilion.
 
The building reflects an imagined superposition of the two types of waves of information (physical and virtual), and the manner in which they interfere is allowed to produce the final built form.
 
There are to be two main sections to the pavilion, one with an outward focus housing the connections to the outside world (virtually), the broadcast centers (video walls and video conferencing between pavilions in different locations), a community theatre for local cultural presentations, and an open, flexible exposition space for rotating art shows or concerts. The other half has an inward focus, housing the forums for learning (such as internet and technology training), and the community meeting rooms (such as the conference rooms, restaurant etc) where community seminars (AA, violence against women, etc) and other forums may be presented.
 
To be an effective educational instrument, the population must want to enter the establishment and explore what it offers. As such we attempt to formally deconstruct the overly imposing classical sensibilities of museums and institutes of higher learning, and instead offer a location which offers both forms of entertainment and education. The thought being that once users have been attracted to the centre by forms of entertainment (screenings, theater expositions, concerts, restaurant, etc) they are then able to explore and investigate the educational aspects, once the initial hurdle of initial access has been overcome. It is certainly not meant a remote and forbidding location, and instead should be as seamless integrated into the web of the city as into the virtual informational web.