Think | Believe | Imagine

In 2010 w/purpose was invited by a colleague to lead an urban design workshop with students at Isthmus Norte – an architecture school located in downtown Chihuahua.  Located appropriately in a state which shares its name – Chihuahua.

This was my first official visit to the Country of Mexico, as qualifying a visit to San Diego suburb Tijuana was hardly justifiable. The invitation to this historic city came at an ideal time as frigid temperatures had just settled in Indianapolis. As part of my workshop the hidden assets of Chihuahua would play host to a number of student inspired projects highlighting opportunities along retail corridors, informal markets, abandoned parks, and under highways.

The first part of the workshop was simple. We walked and talked.  The second part was a bit more complex – in fact it unfolded in this way:

A. Visit the tallest building in Chihuahua, which happens to be its Government Center

B. Request permission for a small group to have access to the roof with cameras and complete stranger from Midwest.

A day later we were escorted by armed military to the roof! It was a slightly uncomfortable trip to the top, as our  escort weighed in heavily on the dangers & potential pitfalls we may face traveling in and out of Chihuahua towards Juarez/El Paso.

Climbing a narrow ships ladder one by one, Chihuahua native Alejandra Dominguez and several of her architecture classmates reached the top. A totally new experience for these students as they absorbed an alternative perspective of their city – a new way to consider the urban form.  For Ms. Dominguez it meant a final design program for a youth learning space adjacent to an underpass and storm water canal.

In reviewing Alejandra’s blog – I was introduced to an graphic background that highlights words like “Think”, “Be”, “Imagine”, “Live”, “Love”, “Believe” “Dream” and “Create”. All words which I believe help in helping cities and its residents. Her projects are honest and with much merit. She explains in a letter sent to me:

“What fascinates me most about architecture is its social element. Architecture cannot be done without carefully considering the social and physical context of place and the role it plays in transforming a city”.

W/purpose welcomes Ms. Alejandra Dominguez to Indianapolis to host her educational residency. We look forward to her energy as she focuses on 38th Street Inter Urban Greenway Visioning and several other projects I believe could use some high level of thinking, imagination, love, and creativity.  Bienvenidos a Indianapolis.