MEGHAN LEWIS (M.Arch ’15)
Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955–1980 at the Museum of Modern Art marks the 60th anniversary of the museum’s historic exhibition, Latin American Architecture since 1945. On April 2nd, students in Tatiana Bilbao’s design studio attended the roundtable discussion held at MoMA as part of a series of events associated with the exhibit. The roundtable, led by Fabrizio Gallanti of Princeton University, was intended to encourage discussion of the impact of being educated in the context of the modernism that permeates Latin America. The panel included Angelo Bucci, founder of SPBR Arquitetos in São Paulo, and Felipe Mesa, founder of PlanB: Arquitectos, in Medellin, Colombia. Tatiana Bilbao discussed the impact of growing up in Mexico City on her architectural education, particularly the destruction of Mario Pani’s Tlatelolco apartment complex in the earthquake of 1985 earthquake. Despite Gallanti’s push to discuss the formal influence of modernist Latin America, each architect turned instead to the influence of the economic and social context of modern buildings and cities. The stunning projects in the exhibit and the perspectives presented at the roundtable were a refreshing break from the Eurocentric architectural history discourse often found in American architecture schools. The advanced studios led by Tatiana Bilbao in Mexico and Sunil Bald in Brazil hopefully represent a much-needed trend of increased emphasis at YSOA on the complex and rich architectural history of Latin America.