La crisis del diseño o el diseño de la crisis

--Originally published at Identidad digital

Hace poco me topé con “La vida en crisis” de María Zambrano. Me sorprendió la claridad con la que describe situaciones y sensaciones que yo- y seguramente muchos otros- sentimos.

ciertamente vivimos en crisis. Personalmente estoy experimentando un punto de quiebre en mi vida, un ruptura y por ende una crisis. Como soñadora, graduada de arquitectura y aspirante a diseñadora me cuestiono la labor del diseñador de manera constanteMe parece complicado digerir la situación en la que se encuentran los diseñadores y el resto de la ciudadanía a pesar de que el diseño como disciplina lleva ya varios años y en teoría su objetivo es facilitar la vida y quehacer humano.

Me entristece la poca sensatez que poseemos, que la guerra de egos entre diseñadores y otros profesionales sea más notoria que la difusión del diseño, la educación y bienestar de la ciudadanía.

Pocas personas están conscientes de la importancia de del diseño en la vida diaria y en nuestros rituales. 

El diseño es visto como un lujo y no como una necesidad. Nos hemos dedicado a crear productos de autor que se han convertido en objetos poco accesibles para la población general.

El diseño no queda en un plano estético, es parte de la tan discutida crisis humanitaria. Claro que este fenómeno es muy complejo y abarca más de una disciplina. Abandono de planificación territorial, globalización, pérdida de identidad Son algunos conceptos relacionados con dicha crisis pero ¿qué estamos haciendo al respecto?

¿Por qué no unir fuerzas y conocimientos en pro de la población?

¿Por qué a pesar de conocer el potencial de técnicas y materiales autóctonos optamos por la globalización inconsciente, homogenización y reduccionismo?

Creo que el mundo está poblado de muchas mentes brillantes que al darles acceso a información relevante pueden hacer cambios sustanciales. Está en nosotros ser conscientes, sensatos y estar ávidos de conocimiento. Apoyar iniciativas integrales abiertas a la colaboración, nuevas ideas y reciclaje de soluciones. 

Light and Space: an encounter with God

--Originally published at Identidad digital

NOTE: While I was studying my bachelor degree I developed a project based in Tadao Ando’s Azuma house and the theory of “Phenomenon of space” developed by Norberg Schulz. Unfortunately I no longer possess any images of the project I mention however I consider the following essay an interesting exercise, hence I decided to publish it on this site.

Light and Space: an encounter with God

“The creation of space in architecture is simply the condensation and purification of the power of light”.                                                                               Tadao Ando

Based on the theory of the Phenomenon of Space written by Christian Norberg-Schulz I developed a project that will work as a tool to have a deeper encounter with God that will be reached with light and dimensions.

Norberg-Schulz states that architecture cannot be “measured” by scientific methods, architecture has as many variables as everyday life has, in fact they are very related, each space created is designed for certain purpose and this places are quite different and unique; they have a specific character. People have tried to see architecture with a scientific approach, however that may not be the most appropriate scheme because science tries to reach a neutral answer, by doing it the matter of study is synthesized and some variables are lost, in the case of architecture, these are the base of its meaning. Literature and language have been helpful elements to approach everyday life and architecture, but a phenomenology of place could work better. Architecture is about places that have character and meaning, each place is different, for example: a temple has to be solemn.

As we can observe architecture is not only about the physical appearance, it is the experience perceived not only by the sight but the other four senses too, architecture has to make people feel something. Based on Norberg schulz’s theory I developed a project that consists on creating a space that will work as a resource to have a closer meeting with God, he is everywhere, off course, but the character of this place leads the user to a more vivid experience, because all the senses perceive certain elements that reminds them that the human being has always felt the need of believing in something bigger, in an all mighty creator responsible of all the marvelous things that surround us and that cannot be explained easily.

The most important thing of this place is not the physical place but the feelings that it evokes in the user, as Peter Zumthor observes in Barragán’s architecture: “Barragán’s house is a potent reminder that what is truly important is nothing like so tangible, but has to do rather with the qualities of sanctuary, surprise and visual comfort.” (Zumthor, 2002) The intention of this place is precisely to make the user feel a connection with God. The place is planned to be a one-to-one meeting, this encounter will lead the users to be in touch with themselves.

The space is based in the Azuma house by Tadao Ando, it is divided in three sections of 4.7 meters each. My project maintains that rhythm, and its proportions are based in multiples of three. It consist in three volumes, the first one in 10 m tall and a door of three meters, it has no windows. The second one has several windows of .30 x 4.7, and the last one has a window formed by a vertical line and a horizontal line.

With the help of light and dimensions I wanted to create a certain atmosphere in the space. When people enter to the place they feel tiny and lost, because of dimensions and the absence of light, when they walk and get to the second volume they are able to see a bit of light and the volume is lower, which decreases the feeling of being worthless and tiny and in the third one people are able to find light in God.

In this project light and dimensions have an important role, because with these elements users will feel certain emotions that give the space a meaning. This space is not only perceived though the eyes but also with all the senses.



“Luis Barragan.” Luis Barragan. N.p., 2002. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <;.

“Architectural Design.” Tadao Ando – Architectural Design. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <;.

Nesbitt, Kate (Editor). 1996. “Theorizing a New Agenda

for Architecture. An Anthology of Architectural Theory”.

New York: Princeton Architectural Press.


More than architecture

--Originally published at Identidad digital

Through the history of knowledge the definition of space has changed, several philosophers such as Wilhelm Leibniz, René Descartes, Aristotle, and Immanuel Kant have proposed different meanings for such concept. Mathematicians have also contributed to define space, they speak of space in a mathematical language, and they have achieved to classify it quite precisely, the problem is that mathematicians have define it in a theoretical and mathematical way that does not relate much to the space experienced and lived by society, is with this problematic that philosophers enter again to the existence space issue. Philosophers have drawn upon other branches of knowledge, as an aid to solve the problem epistemology emerged, “[…] Epistemology has inherited and adopted the notion that the status of space is that of a “mental thing” or a “mental place” (Lefebvre 1974).

Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect, educated in America and influenced by the five architects, is worldwide known for his work with paper. One of his most important works with this material are the emergency shelters for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this project was made in 1994 for the Rwandan refugees that lost their homes due to the genocide and civil war. This project is especially relevant in various ways:  the techniques and materials used the place as a representation of hope for the people that had lost everything and the query if the places created should be considered homes or fake places. The construction of these places went further than just creating mass asylums; shelters were made with a humanitarian focus. The shelters should be considered a real space and must be classified as heterotopias.

Rwanda’s 1994 civil war left more than 2 million people homeless; refugees required a shelter and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees supplied aluminum poles and plastic sheets as resources to create temporary dwelling. The refugees used the aluminum poles and branches as structural support; this leaded to contribute with the grave deforestation suffered in the region, the situation was critical. Ban suggested using paper tubes to remediate the circumstances, and the use of these materials instead of branches did not affect the deforestation problem, were easily found and handled and served as structural support for the construction of simple shelters consisting of paper tubes and blue tarps.  The UNHCR accepted the proposal and after some tests approved the prototype.

Leibniz stated that space “itself” is neither nothing nor something; to know if space is something we have to introduce an origin and axes, these two elements give direction and orientation. This direction and orientation are given to the space by bodies that occupy it. The shelters posses’ direction and orientation, the asylums have certain boundaries (floor, wall, and ceiling) that denote that they work as spaces. The ancient greeks stated that boundary is that from which something begins its presence, having a presence denotes that something exists; hence, it can be conclude that the shelters work as spaces.

Assuming that shelters are spaces, now it can be discussed if these places can be called “homes”. In the other hand there is a concept called heterotopias, according to Teyssot (1997) Foucault establishes some characteristics of heterotopias:

(1) Though they assume a wide variety of forms, heterotopias are a constant feature of all cultures. (2) Over the course of its history, a society may take an existing heterotopia and make it function in a different way. (3) The heterotopia has the power of juxtaposing in a single real place different spaces and locations that are incompatible with each other. (4) Heterotopias are linked to time, entering fully into function when traditional time is breached (as in, for example, the cemetery, where the loss of life and the perception of eternity coincide). (5) One does not usually enter a heterotopia by one’s own will (think of the prison), and, as a visitor by force or permission, one must perform certain gestures only to be still excluded from its true heart. (6) Heterotopias perform the contradictory functions of revealing the illusory quality of all space and compensating for that illusion with a perfect,      meticulous, and well-arranged real space.

The materials used to build these places are not typical materials used for creating houses; the particularity of the materials used is that they are seen as ephemeral matter because paper is not known for its resistance and durability, usually homes are created with “stronger” materials because houses are thought to last for a long time. The shelters’ main purpose is to work as a place to protect people from the environment but the refugees have given the shelter another meaning; the shelter works as a home for them, as a place where they can find peace and faith.

These places will not exist forever; they are temporary places that serve as dwelling for the refugees. They did not decide to live in that shelter; they were forced to inhabit such place because they had lost their real homes. If they rearrange the place and introduce certain details the semiotics behind them will transport the users to the idea that they are at home. In fact, semiotics play quite an important role in this situation because society has embraced an ideology, “Ideology has the social function of maintaining the overall structure of society by introducing men to accept in their consciousness the place and role assigned to them […] (Agres and Gandelsosonas)”  they acquire this ideology by different means and through their whole lives. Architecture is a whole system of signs and by reproducing certain signs an idea will be transferred to the society. In this case semiotics will contribute to create an idea and opinion about the place inhabited, which will derive in the signification that is pretend to give to the asylums.

Human beings had always questioned their existence and their surroundings, people have tried to look for a definition of abstract and complicated concepts such as space, from those concepts many others may derive. The human being is not only concerned in that type of studies, society has other kind of issues, such as dwelling and humanitarian sense. When a society is needy people have done certain activities to help them such as the case of the Rwandan refugees of 1994. Shelters were provided to help them. The shelters for the refugees may not be precisely what is called a home but the people that inhabit them have given the space a different meaning, for these people the place represented that not everything is lost, that they can still believe in hope and in the human race.

With the word “home” many ideas, memories, scents, images come to our heads, each one has experienced their homes in a different way. What all those definitions have in common is that home is more than a place, is a certain friendly atmosphere that contains elements that make you feel comfortable and alludes the feeling of belonging somewhere.

We can only have one home; actually the world can be divided in two:  the home and all the places that are not our home. People can feel homelike in other places that are not theirs, for example the emergency shelters, in such place users can feel cozy there but these will never be what it pretends to be. They are not precisely the user’s homes’ but they work as one, they are what is called an “heterotopia” because these asylums will eventually stop existing, they emerged as an alternative to create dwelling for people that had lost everything, but they will not last long. They serve as something they are not. Even though the asylums are not homes they posses something special  due to the interaction between the inhabitants, the space, the semiotics and the architects’ purpose the shelter has conceived a certain meaning that goes beyond a place to protect people from the environment, Ban has re-signified the consign, he aimed to create a certain atmosphere; Ban’s humanitarian purpose change the place since its conception, as he mentions: “to work for each and every human being is the mission of the living architect (Ban, 2009)”.  He has the strong desire to improve people’s life by creating architecture that comes from the heart.



         Nesbitt, Kate. Theorizing a new agenda for architecture: an anthology of architectural theory: 1965-1995. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996.

         Lefebvre, Henri. The production of space. Oxford, OX, UK: Blackwell, 1991. Print.Heterotopias and the History of Spaces- Georges Teyssot

         The ethical Function of architecture- karsten Harries


         “Spotlight on Design – Shigeru Ban interview – YouTube.” YouTube. N.p., n.d. 13. Nov. 2012. <;.

         “The emergency architecture of Shigeru Ban – YouTube.” YouTube. 13. Nov. 2012. <;.

Coherencia, forma nueva y vida nueva ¿Cómo deben ser los interiores de una espacio para que exista una correspondencia coherente entre forma y vida?

--Originally published at Identidad digital

A partir de cambios sustanciales en la sociedad, la industria y en general la manera de vivir, durante el modernismo se plantean nuevas teorías y formas de diseñar y percibir la arquitectura. Debido a dicho cambio surge la necesidad de generar diseños, específicamente de interiores y mobiliario de tal manera que respondan y se adapten a la nueva forma de vida.

El arraigado gusto por el academicismo impidió se generaran soluciones adecuadas, que mantuvieran un vínculo entre el diseño interior de la arquitectura y su exterior. Como resultado de esta falta de sensibilidad los diseñadores y la industria no llegan a tener contacto alguno. Esto genera productos carentes de soluciones adecuadas y artistas dedicados al arte por el arte, a una vida ficticia y una estética estéril.

El artesano es sustituido por la máquina. Surge una oportunidad para que arquitectos y diseñadores realicen diseños teniendo en mente el potencial de las máquinas sin menospreciar la relación de éste con la economía y la estética, lo cual, de acuerdo con Lina Bo, exige simplicidad de formas y acabados coherentes. Dicha oportunidad da pauta para generar expresiones artísticas de cierta autenticidad y sin regresiones sentimientales.

Lina Bo abogaba por un cambio en diseño de mobiliario e interiores que vayan de acuerdo con los planteamientos del modernismo, escribiendo en la revista Domus el artículo ‘Disposición de los espacios interiores’ hace notar la incoherencia de introducir detalles con diseños marcados por el academicismo a espacios que poco tienen que ver con planteamientos del viejo mundo cuya filosofía de diseño es completamente distinta a lo que el ser humano de esa nueva época necesita.

A pesar que dicho artículo fue escrito el siglo pasado en la actualidad dicha problemática sigue viva y latente. Muchos insisten en traer al presente reminiscencias que poco responden al clima, la sociedad, el entorno y las necesidades de los seres que vivimos en 2018. Se insite en crear sin ser crítico ni sensible a la realidad.

Los habitantes y diseñadores siguen indiferentes a la realidad de la situación.


Diseño en México y miedo a equivocarse

--Originally published at Identidad digital

Durante mis cinco años de carrera y desde hace tiempo atrás me sudan las manos y el corazón late más fuerte cuando se trata de expresar una de mis ideas.

El enfrentarme a la crítica me da pavor. Siento como el espacio se llena de juicios. Quisiera no estar presente en el momento de la crítica.

La crítica, la que corta más que una navaja afilada, la que lastima el ego.

Considero que la crítica como tal no es mala pero hay que ser lo suficientemente sensibles para saber cómo y en qué momento expresarla

Con la crítica viene el saber del error. En mi educación mexicana el error es castigado. Las miradas agresivas con un poco de lástima y pena ajena te juzgan generando un sentimiento de culpa por haber cometido el error.

A veces se aprende del error a veces hay que recurrir varias veces a él para entender.

Está bonita la idea de dejar que los jóvenes y los no tan jóvenes puedan equivocarse cuantas veces quieran sin que nada pase ¿pero hasta dónde está bien equivocarse?

Como seres sociales vivimos en comunidades, nuestras acciones repercuten de alguna  otra manera, en un nivel u otro en la vida de la gente que nos rodea.

Como diseñadxres y arquitectxs tenemos responsabilidades con la sociedad, con el mundo. Un error puede afectar el desarrollo de otro humano, su experiencia, sus rituales.

¿Hasta dónde es permisible equivocarse? ¿Cuándo y bajo qué condiciones? ¿bajo qué contexto?







Cuando el gel de ducha en crema se termina

--Originally published at Identidad digital

Cuando el gel de ducha en crema está por terminar se escuchan sus gritos de agonía antes de dar el último esfuerzo. Aquel equipo de envase y líquido da todo lo que le queda soltando un grito ahogado que más que grito parece una flatulencia sonora que despide un agradable olor.

Cuando el gel de ducha se termina las lágrimas inundan mis ojos, aquel grito desesperado me transmite la agonía del envase, está a punto de convertirse en un envase de pet vacío, sin propósito en la vida, todo lo que tenía dentro, todo su valor, paulatinamente va disminuyendo hasta que no queda nada, su dolor empieza cuando lo voltean de cabeza para que así sea más sencillo exprimir la vida que le queda dentro. Después de mantener aquella posición durante cierto tiempo lo estrujan por su parte media, le hunden los dedos y lo aprietan para que vomite todo lo que queda de aquel preciado gel, el gel sin ánimos de nada se deja llevar, permite que lo unten en un cuerpo ajeno, el gel al estar en contacto con el agua se va transformando en una sustancia más ligera, se empiezan a crear burbujas, su metamorfosis comienza, aquel bello estado culmina resbalándose por el cuerpo, el cual vierte agua para dejar que la espuma fluya y siga su camino, que baje por el vientre, que pase por las piernas, por los pies hasta terminar en el piso de la regadera donde después, por medio de la gravedad, es llevado hasta la coladera.

Todo esto lo presencia el envase, el cual está de cabeza, lo cual hace que sea una escena aún más grotesca,  el gel de baño que aún queda en su interior se acumula y se precipita para poder salir de él, el envase se da por vencido y deja que el hombre haga lo que quiera con lo que queda de su alma.

El impulso

--Originally published at Identidad digital

He escuchado que, en ocasiones, odiamos comportamientos que tenemos y que vemos en otras personas. No se hasta que punto esto sea cierto. Pero lo que si se es que hay varias cosas que logran molestarme demasiado, es un enfado que no puede describirse fácilmente con palabras.

Opinión siempre tengo sin embargo intento ser cautelosa al momento de expresarme. Pero hoy he visto algo que me indignó bastante y me hace actuar de manera impulsiva: un video de una zarigüeya siendo golpeada, maltratada, masacrada por una muchedumbre en un partido de baseball. Fue tal mi dolor y furia que comencé a llorar. Detesto que haya gente que tenga tan poco respeto por la vida.

El pobre animal nada malo hacía, pero la gente que estaba ahí sí. No se si se dejaron llevar por el momento pero varias personas lanzaban objetos en contra del pobre ser. Al leer que fue  golpeado con un bate hasta su muerte no continué con el video, era demasiado morbo.

He escuchado y leído como el hombre está inclinado hacia el mal y como al pertenecer a una muchedumbre un ser humano es capaz de cometer actos atroces.  Ciertamente no puedo juzgarlos de manera severa, yo no sé que haría en su lugar.

Creo que odio ese tipo de comportamiento porque genuinamente quiero un mundo diferente, con más educación y amor. Sin violencia, intolerancia y demás comportamientos generados por la ignorancia.

Como consejo al mundo opino que deberíamos dejar en paz de una buena vez a los demás seres que habitan nuestro planeta. Preocuparnos y ocuparnos de dejar el planeta en las mejores condiciones para los que viven con nosotros y los seres del futuro. Considero que la educación es clave para que este tipo de cosas no sucedan más. Vivimos tan encerrados en nosotros mismos, en nuestro mundito consumista e indiferente que no nos detenemos a reflexionar sobre el prójimo y sobre lo que estamos haciendo.

Nuestro propósito de vida debería incluir amar a todo el que esté cerca (o lejos), hacer lo mejor para todos, dejar un mundo más feliz, más educado y con más amor.

Last of the week

--Originally published at Digital Identity

The End by aftab., on Flickr
The End” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by aftab.

So before getting into my final thoughts of the course I would like to thank the teacher that made this course posible, Ken Bauer. I quite enjoyed the whole experience, and I feel it actually made a difference on me. I also want to thank Dave Cormier, Laura GogiaLee Skallerup, Alan LevineAmy Burvall, Autumm Caines , Bonnie StewartSundi RichardMaha BaliDiego ZavalaRebecca Hogue and Helen DeWaard for sharing their views on the subject at matter. I really appreciate that you took time of your day to talk with us. You helped build a really great experience, so thank you for that.

Now, into the reflection. The reason that I like this subject is because my digital identity has been cut into two since I started leaving stuff in the internet. Recently, I decided to continue on in the internet with only one persona. This course helped me notice what I really wanted, how to do it, and what would imply to me, and the people around me. It also made me think about stuff that never came across my mind. Like when Ken mentioned that it’s okay to use your laptop on your lap, because after all, it is called a LAPtop. That completely blew my mind. In a more serious note, the course made me notice how important it is to be aware of what is said or posted about you in the web. To a certain point I thought that keeping a different personas would make things all good, but in reality I don’t actually want that. I want for people to know who I am and make sure they know what my work is.

This course helped me decide that I want to keep blogging. I want to get my weird thoughts out there, because maybe someone will be able to get something out of it. It also helps me keeping myself as sane as I can. I’ve always loved writing. It’s even therapeutic. Now, I’ll just post a selective few and share it with others.

I will probable keep updating this blog ever so often, but there’s only so much that I can talk about the subject without just getting out of subject.

So, yeah. Thank you for reading.



--Originally published at Digital Identity

Today was the last of day of the digital identity course with Ken Bauer at the Tec de Monterrey Campus Guadalajara. Today we were lucky to half a talk with Rebecca Hogue and Helen J. DeWaard. They were nice enough to answer a question related to one of the main concepts of which I wanted to get into the course. Anonymity, and alterante internet personas. You can check out that whole thing right here:

So, as you can see because of my nickname, and also I’ve mentioned it in another post; I didn’t always went by as my real name in the internet. When I started to be more active in the way I preferred to create a different identity for myself. An alter ego even. That’s when Drag was born. At the time, Drag represented who I wanted to be, but this idea was really far from my actual personality in real life. In high school, as I started to become friends with people that heavily used social media my internet persona started to mix with my personal life. It even got to the point in which my friends started to call me Drag instead of Alex, and to this date my closest friends still do.

It wasn’t until recently that I had my digital life pretty much really far apart from my physical life. Now, the only disadvantage that I find of having a different identity out there is that I will probably not get as much recognition for the work that I do publish out in the web. Another reason is because it started to affect my mental health. It got to the point that I would sometimes identify as Drag, and other times as Alex. Because of this reasons and others I decided to get this two entities together. Hence the full name Alejandro “Drag” Güereca.

In its self it’s not wrong to try to be anonymous or have another persona in the internet. But whatever you do, no matter by what name you go through, be proud of your work. Because if you think that it should be out there, chances are at least a few people are going to feel identified with your thoughts.

Also today we did a cool exercise with video editing. So we goofed around a little bit and pulled this gem:

So that’s it for the week. However I do plan on posting tomorrow what I learned, and final thoughts of the stuff that we looked at. So be on the look out for that.

Day V

--Originally published at Identidad digital

What’s up people,

Today was a bittersweet day for me: it was the last session of our semanai. I was satisfied, tired and sad. I have learned a lot this week. It felt really good to explore topics that have little to do with my everyday life and studies.  Besides I finally started blogging. I really like writing and blogging is an activity that since a few years ago has gotten my attention but I had never tried.

After this week I have decided not only to continue this blog but also creating another where I can write about the “philosophy” (I guess), history and ideas behind the pictures I take and post on Instagram.

A thing I liked about blogging and the “Digital Identity” course is that it has helped me to clear my mind and think about what I have learned during the day. I hope that if people read my blog they can get something from it, fun, a lesson, encouraging words, or whatever they are looking for. Anyways I’m sure I can get lots of good stuff from it. During the curse I have learned to be less scared about sharing a bit of my life on the internet. Besides if I post something that later on I will not like or agree with I can always erase it.

On the other hand the session of today was quite helpful because we learned about expressing one’s self through video. Diego Zavala showed us several websites were stories were told though videos. The one that I liked the most was about a boy and his father, it really touched my heart, I actually wanted to cry but I was too embarrassed to do it.

Ken, if you ever read this, thanks a lot for this week. It has been the best semana I for me so far. From my experience you are a great professor, having you as a full semester teacher must be super dope.