- Sustainable Architecture
- Proyectos Impala. Culture for everyone
On Livegreenblog, we often discuss the power of art and of culture in general as an enabler of human relations and driver of social change. Our friends from Mexican studio Urbánika, based in Chihuahua use it to do just that, as we have already seen with their two fitness centres (Boxing Gym, Adapted Gym) designed as positive input and a reference point in the urban fabric.
Their “Proyectos Impala” is instead a mobile cultural hub. An intuition of Mexican artist and curator Alejandro Morales from Juárez who has been fighting drug-related violence there for years and he reached out to the architecture firm Urbànika with the idea to refurbish an old truck trailer and convert it into an art gallery and library on wheels, travelling around Ciudad Juárez, a tough, hardened city on the US border.
So this time artistic and literary culture is being used as the medium to counteract the degradation and brutality of daily violence. We are perfectly aware of how difficult it is to engage the general public with cultural initiatives, but Morales and Urbánika were certainly up to the challenge - if the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain, in other words you just need to get a mobile vehicle on the road to take art and books outside the standard institutional areas used for “cultural consumption” and promote knowledge and awareness of beauty.
The original floor of the trailer was repaired and windows were inserted at the top so natural light would fill the interior. A small lounge and reading area was added to create a warm environment where people can meet, relax and enjoy the artworks and books.
“Proyectos Impala” by Alejandro Morales and Urbánika is the story of the catalysing power of culture, a first, real step towards building a cultural - and maybe even a cross-border - network. An emblematic project for reporting from the front - the theme of this year's Architecture Biennale in Venice but also in general in today's world of architecture.
Location:ciudad juárez (mobile)
design team: alejandro morales (curator) + urbánika
project design team: alejandro morales, federico campos
transportation: transportes svm
container via donation by: BRP
container conditioning: conaculta – ichicult
exhibition possible with the support of: ISE ny cultural foundation
schematic design: november 2015
photography: archivo urbánika, alejandro morales
related articles: Boxing Gym, Adapted Gym