Re-shaping the Historic City: An International Workshop to Intervene Listed Buildings

For many, the lockdown and working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed new challenges. Nonetheless, in academia, it also has open opportunities for international collaboration and strengthening existing ones. Dr Alejandro Moreno-Rangel has been invited by Universidad Marista de Guadalajara (Mexico) as a guest lecturer and tutor. Dr Alejandro Moreno-Rangel proposed a series of online lectures and workshop on which the students will incorporate a research and architectural design project. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina) and Universidad Nacional de Itapúa (Paraguay) also participate in this interdisciplinary international collaboration . This workshop will be embedded to their existing curricula this academic year (2020/2021). Dr Alfonso Ascencio Rubio, the course leader and coordinator for this workshop at the hosting institution, will synchronize the international activities with the local authorities, public bodies and students.

Both, Dr Alejandro Moreno-Rangel and Dr Alfonso Ascencio Rubio have collaborated in similar initiatives in the past. However, this project endeavours to challenge their expertise to an outstanding level. In the “Re-shaping the Historic City: The social aspect of the city” workshop, the students will experience the rehabilitation and retrofit of historic buildings in Guadalajara, with emphasis on sustainability and healthy buildings. The project aims to provide added value to Heritage Urban Areas not only by the urban and building rehabilitation but also by bringing the spotlights to buildings that otherwise may lose their identity due to contemporary life’s demands. This project reacts to the current housing crisis offsetting the “new” verticalization building model in the city and brings life to urban spaces in risk of losing their traditional integrity. Rather than proposing new buildings, the students will experiment with different interventions in urban spaces where traditional architecture and listed buildings require rehabilitation. The main location for this project is locally known as the 9 corners or “las 9 esquinas”. The biggest challenges for the students is to propose and outline the retrofit of existing buildings. Nonetheless, they will not only be limited by the current layout of the buildings, but also by the local and national regulations to intervene in listed buildings.

Dr Alejandro Moreno-Rangel has been invited to mentor and advise students through their understanding and implementation of sustainable and healthy issues related to this project. While there is an expectation for the students to rehabilitate these buildings; the real challenge is to incorporate up-to-date retrofit techniques while honouring and exhibit the roots of the building.

This online workshop will take place between September and December 2020.