Mexican architecture and the culture within



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Texas Tech University


Efforts by the Mexican government to improve the economic condition of Mexico, plus the desire to expand architectural markets is leading foreign architects to seek work in Mexico. Traditionally, Mexico has been a two-class society, the tiny rich ruling class and the large poor lower class. However, this situation is changing with Mexico's current burgeoning middle-class. This is resulting in a growing market for new single-family housing. The purpose of this thesis is to identiiy a program to meet the Mexican single-family housing demand. The criteria must include social, cultural and historical content, as well as spatial organization and use.

Architecture is often required to satisfy a diverse set of objectives, but it is the author's sincere conviction that successful architecture must meet two primary objectives. It must be meaningful as well as fimctional. The creation of meaningful architecture requires the designer to understand the context in which they are working, through searching for the essence of a place. It requires that the accidental or superficial qualities of a place not be allowed to obscure the immaterial or spiritual quality of a place. This requires the designer to seek out the culture of a people and to grasp how a culture imbeds itself within its architecture. Thus, within this thesis the author describes the culture of the Mexican people and how their culture is embedded within their architecture. Furthermore, the author poses the idea that this embedded culture has survived and adapted to the changes in Mexican society over thousands of years, including Spanish colonization, and that it still survives within Mexican architecture being produced now.

The research data will be collected by the author through a literature search, discussions with architects in Mexico as well as other Mexican people, plus direct experience through living in Mexico, working in a Mexican architectural office, and designing single-family Mexican housing. The research data will be synthesized and presented in a format that first provides architects with a broad overview of Mexican culture, followed by a summary of Mexican architecture, and finally an in depth understanding of a specific building type, the Mexican house. Thus, the thesis is divided into three chapters. Cultural Context, Architectural History and the Mexican house, in that order.