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architecture ecology urban

Architecture / Teddy Cruz's urban acupuncture

teddy cruz - tijuana river

Last night, I saw archi­tect Ted­dy Cruz deliv­er a fast-paced, idea-rich pre­sen­ta­tion at the San Fran­cis­co Art Insti­tute. In a lit­tle over an hour, he tore through a slide show cov­er­ing his recent work on the social, cul­tur­al, polit­i­cal, and eco­nom­ic forces at work in com­mu­ni­ties along the US-Mex­i­co bor­der. The slide show itself was pret­ty impres­sive — a blend of research pho­tog­ra­phy, sim­ple Pow­er­Point ani­ma­tion, and pho­to col­lages (like the ones shown in this post, cour­tesy of UCSD, where Cruz teach­es) that looked some­what like maps but also some­what like actu­al pho­tos of urban density.I'd first heard of Cruz in the NYT Mag­a­zine fea­ture from last spring, Shan­ty­towns as a New Sub­ur­ban Ide­al. It details "Liv­ing Rooms at the Bor­der," his pro­posed project to turn a lot in the bor­der com­mu­ni­ty of San Ysidro into a mul­ti-use dwelling/community center/market. He dis­cuss­es it in more detail in "Urban acupunc­ture", an arti­cle he wrote for Res­i­den­tial Archi­tect Online:

Hous­ing and den­si­ty need to be seen not as an amount of units but as dwelling in rela­tion­ship to the larg­er infra­struc­ture of the city, which includes trans­porta­tion, eco­log­i­cal net­works, the pol­i­tics and eco­nom­ics of land use, and par­tic­u­lar cul­tur­al idio­syn­crasies of place … In a par­cel where exist­ing zon­ing allows only three units of hous­ing, the project pro­pos­es (through nego­ti­at­ed den­si­ty bonus­es and by shar­ing kitchens) 12 afford­able hous­ing units, a com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter result­ing from the adap­tive reuse of an exist­ing 1927 church, offices for Casa Famil­iar in the church's new attic, and a gar­den under­pin­ning the community's non­con­form­ing micro-economies, such as street mar­kets and kiosks. In a place where cur­rent reg­u­la­tion allows only one use, we pro­pose five dif­fer­ent uses that sup­port each oth­er.

Cruz dis­cuss­es his archi­tec­tur­al mis­sion in this arti­cle at the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Architecture's site: Bor­der Post­card: Chron­i­cles from the Edge.