Archiving Identity

In Mexico City, there is a proud neighbourhood called Tepito. It is home to the outcast and the marginalised as well as the birthplace of an underground religion called the Cult of Santa Muerte, a syncretism of traditional Catholicism and Aztec mythology.

Tepito is currently undergoing gentrification funded by the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, who has plans to implement public typologies that are disingenuous to its history, culture and communal identity.

Depicted here is a reactionary intervention called the Archive of Tepito. It is a strategy of 'in between' spaces which are both politically and religiously charged. It is a language of courtyards, towers and corridors within the city, a typology that records the events of Tepito by providing a homogenous platform for them to coexist.

This language enables the existence of multiple simultaneous narratives that have the potential to overlap in more scripted spaces, such as altars, auditoriums, markets and workshops.

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12 Alfarería Street

Good Morning 12 Alfarería Street. Cars and commuters drift through the Archive like it is an extension of the city.

Score: Mural of Tepito

The score is a narrative document that describes the project holistically. The foreground depicts daily events within the archive while the background outlines the changes that take place on an urban scale, from now to 2050.

Contemporary Votive Paintings

Contemporary adaptations of the traditional votive paintings of Mexico. Individually they tell unique stories. As a collection they reflect the community they depict: AA students.

Scripted Spaces

A comparison of scripted spaces in Adolf Loos’s Josephine Baker House and SANAA’s Moriyama House. The former is highly choreographed in order to see Josephine Baker swim naked, and the latter is more chaotic, allowing for improvised encounters.

Three Potential Scripts

The same architecture harbours multiple simultaneous scripts, or realities, that have the potential to overlap and bleed into each other.

The Archive's Legacy

The strategy of growth for this public typology. Towers that contain communal altars are erected where there is a demand, and the courtyards and corridors follow soon after.

Selection of Vignettes

Various moments within the Archive. There is a balance between scripted spaces (altars, auditoriums, workshops) and unscripted spaces (courtyards, corridors, roofscapes).

Polaroid Impressions

Qualitative light impressions taken with a Polaroid SX-70 that describe the atmospheric characteristics of spaces within the archive.

Moments in Section

The form of the archive in 2030 follows the experiences, not the other way around. The architecture is read as a sequence of events.

An Altar to Santa Muerte

Santa Muerte's rituals are loosely based on Catholic liturgy, but there is an emphasis on placing offerings on a private altar. Each altar becomes a reflection of its owner's identity.