The Sinking City

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Aleah Westfall (designer)
Karen Lewis (studio professor)
Autumn 2017
North and Central America->Mexico->Distrito Federal->Mexico City
This was a student project by Aleah Westfall for Karen Lewis's course ARCH 4410 in Autumn 2017.
When it rains in Mexico City, it does not just fall, it pours. Gently at first then more urgently with an evening down pour that turns splashes into puddles. The water rushes through the streets from the distant mountains and volcanoes. These floods are a reminder of the natural order of things: water belongs here. When the Spaniards conquered Mexico, they drained the lakes, now we are left with a vast sea of concrete. Although Mexico City has an extensive amount of rainfall it suffers from a shortage of potable water and must extract this water from beneath the ground. This extraction is causing the aquifers to be drained and eliminating the support for the land above.
As 65 percent of the human body, water is essential to people and it too is essential to the ecological and geological structure of this city. There are immigrants pleading for water and a city that is sinking, while at the same time the United States of America, the land of opportunities, is discussing a wall designed to ignore these struggles. As an architect, it is our responsibility to address these global issues. This embassy can be a solution, a solution to the separation of the countries, a solution to the foundation of the city, and a solution to the suffrage of the people. Rather than a wall that divides this embassy is a divided wall and a place people can begin to gather within.
The facade symbolizes bald eagle feathers and acts as a protective skin that sheds the water directly to cistern below. The rain is filtered on site and the walls filter people throughout. There are four walls on the site, the center and smallest wall houses the embassy officials and the executive offices. The opposing walls act as shields and establish protection for the center wall. This embassy is a focus on finding solutions to social and geological issues.
ARCH 4410
Academic Class