I couldn't walk past this twice without sneaking a screengrab.
This is a still from Andrew Marr's Megacities series on the Beeb, a surprisingly well pitched piece of film making with enough original content to keep we urban professional types interested, backed up with enough of the headlines to educate the masses.
The image here is from a helicopter sequence that's been used a couple of times in the first few episodes. It shows an affluent suburb of Mexico City perched up on the vertiginous Mulholland Drive-like ghettos of wealth which are in stark contrast with the favelas below (or Barrios? Or what in Mexico I wonder?).
And it's not the only one!
There's something utterly, stupefyingly egregious about the six or seven storey concrete frame that's used to support nothing more than the gardens. In a city where, not 10 miles away, people build their homes out of Coca Cola crates on the route of a continually flooding and re-flooding river here's a ready made infrastructure for dense urban living lofted up above the floodplain. Never a clearer illustration of the invisible boundaries of class and social structure implicit in these mega cities that this structure goes begging by virtue of being in the 'other' part of town.
A ready made architectural thesis here for any students short of ideas:
Exotic overseas site - tick
Subversive manipulation of social norms - tick
Urban scale analysis down to human scale intervention - tick
In-built (worthy or provocative) narrative - tick
Good excuse to watch obscure Mexican gang movies - tick
Opportunity to use silly student words like juxtaposition - tick
Paramaetrics - no, sorry.
If this keeps just one student off the shipping container crack (believe it or not kids, we've seen it before) I'll be a happy man.