Book Talk: Felipe Orensanz

June 15, 2023
@ The Block House

2022 IPA Fellow, Felipe Orensanz, visited the Block House to discuss his recent book about one of Latin America’s most significant modern housing projects, Unidad Independencia of Social Services and Housing.

Built by Mexico’s Social Security Institute (IMSS) and designed by an interdisciplinary team of architects, planners, and artists led by Alejandro Prieto and José María Gutiérrez, Unidad Independencia found a radically new way of building housing in a profoundly complex and contradictory political, economic, and ideological context. In addition to 2,235 housing units distributed in three different typologies (single-family houses, mid-rise multi-family buildings, and high-rise apartment towers), the proposal included an ambitious program of civic, educational, commercial, cultural, sports, and health spaces framed by a vast network of parks, gardens, plazas, and children’s playgrounds.

This book offers a thorough collective analysis of an urban-architectural project that reminds us, amid today’s housing crises, that another housing is possible and that there are more humane and integral ways to manage, plan, design, and build our human settlements.


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