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After the fall of Tenochtitlán, 500 years ago, the Spanish conquistadors established a regime that opposed water in the Mexico City Valley. In contrast to the culture of the original inhabitants, water became an “enemy” to be confronted and defeated. Engineering over five centuries perpetuated this approach, which has been called “hydrophobic” by members of the traditional peoples that inhabit the Valley.
This culture extends all the way into the present day, but recently a parallel conversation has arisen, and there are technicians, planners, designers, and politicians that demand a different approach–one that may help preserve and recover as much as possible the original ecology of the Valley, one that may help heal what has been destroyed, one that may transform the future of the entire Valley region.
The first large project that is based on this premise and that has been able to reach the execution phase is the “Parque Ecológico Lago de Texcoco”, an initiative to reclaim 14,000 hectares (almost 35,000 Acre) for ecological purposes with enclaves of cultural and sports infrastructure, that will open this space to the public.
Iñaki Echeverria is an architect, landscape urbanist, and entrepreneur based in Mexico City. He has specialized in the integration of techniques conventionally associated with architecture, science, technology, and ecology to reconsider this intersection as an opportunity to transform buildings, landscape, and infrastructure. He has been studying the region around Lago de Texcoco for more than 18 years. Today he is the Director of the Parque Ecológico Lago de Texcoco in Mexico National Water Commission (Conagua).
Echeverria is an academic at UPenn and has taught Design at Harvard GSD, UNAM, and Iberoamericana and founded an annual workshop at Aedes Network Campus Berlin. He is a member of the board of advisors to Harvard’s Office for Urbanization, Mexico City’s Conduse and the Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs.
His work has been published and exhibited in America, Africa, Asia and Europe; some emblematic commissions are the ecological parks CDT Tijuana, PEMEX Coatzacoalcos and Atlacomulco; the Papalote Children’s Museum in Monterrey; PEMEX boarding houses for indigenous children; Infirmary school and diabetes clinic for ProCdMx; Ternium’s workers’ club; exteriors for luxury retailer Liverpool and a vast array of housing, mix-use and office projects.
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