One of six installations for the digital exhibition by winners of the 2021 League Prize.
To be as connected to the public as possible, welcoming unexpected encounters, conversations, discussions, chaos, messiness, and criticism, our practice takes a radical approach. Over the years, it has consisted of a bar, a gallery, an online radio station, a print shop, a furniture store, an event space, a residency, a collectively managed archive, an experimental park, and multiple cafes: a network of self-managed “subspaces” spread throughout Mexico City.
Our online installation, subespacios.com, is dedicated to showcasing and reflecting on our scattered infrastructure.
Simply caring for our subspaces has involved a tremendous amount of housekeeping. We draw, make models, and meet with collaborators in the same spaces where we prepare food, serve neighbors and friends, and clean up their messes. Maintaining our expansive facilities has also led us to transform our design method: Instead of producing fussy, precious drawings as end products, every image we produce is simply the latest iteration of a continuously (and easily) updated document, not unlike a checklist, a shopping list, or a menu.
We have come to understand buildings not only as a product of the labor that goes into designing and constructing them, but also as the work that is put into maintaining them and the communities that use them. By opening our workspace to the public, our practice has become embedded into the neighborhood. Most of our collaborations and client projects have arisen from these fortuitous encounters.
By collecting and displaying everyday documentation about our subspaces—photos, videos, maps, menus, flyers, checklists, and shopping lists—along with a text written specifically for this exhibition, subespacios.com will serve as an opportunity to reflect on how our subspaces have shaped our own practice. We believe architecture firms are in a critical position to use their own offices and infrastructures as public sites of spatial research and experimentation, even if it requires a bit more housekeeping.