Cited as one of the most versatile and prolific architectural voices in Mexico City today, Alberto Kalach co-founded the firm Taller de Arquitectura X (TAX) in 1981. Kalach works collaboratively, completing projects that range from residential commissions to civic structures with firms and contemporaries such as Teodoro González de León, Juan Palomar, Tonatiuh Martínez, Gustavo Lipkau, and Jose Castillo. His award-winning Jose Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City remains the largest public library in Latin America.
This past fall, the Architectural League invited Kalach to speak as part of our Current Work lecture series. On October 14th, 2012, Kalach presented his work in the Great Hall of The Cooper Union. The next morning, on Tuesday, October 15th, at the Trespa Design Center, the League held a roundtable discussion with Kalach, moderated by Adam Yarinsky of the New York firm Architecture Research Office.
In the following excerpt from the roundtable discussion, Kalach discusses the work of his group México: Ciudad Futura, which has produced an extensive regional and infrastructural plan for Mexico City. The Ciudad Futura group and its large-scale corollary projects, such as “Recovering the City of Lakes,” propose to solve many of the environmental and socio-economic problems facing Mexico City today, including water overexploitation, land subsidence, and major flooding. The plans primarily focus on reviving the Valley of Mexico’s largest former lake, Texcoco, which has been almost completely artificially drained by the city. The reclaimed waterbody, with new vibrant lakefront areas, water treatment facilities and an international airport, all contribute to the visionary scheme of reintegrating Mexico City with its natural setting while also addressing its social and economic needs as a growing urban center.
Watch the video below to learn more.
Alberto Kalach: Ciudad Futura
Recorded: October 15, 2012
Running Time: 09:00
In the following excerpt from his 2012 Current Work lecture, Alberto Kalach reflects on his design philosophy through key projects like the Jose Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City, a French school in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and three houses in Mexico and California. Here, Kalach demonstrates an approach characterized by strong connections between interior and exterior, architecture and landscape, across a variety of programs and scales. Discussing simplicity and his use of materials, Kalach emphasizes an attraction to wood: “we’ve started learning how to work with wood, I think [wood] is a fantastic way of building…wood is on the scale of a house.”
Watch the lecture podcast below.
Alberto Kalach: Current Work
Taller de Arquitectura X
Recorded: October 14, 2012
Running Time: 25:51