The Boston Architectural College - 320 Newbury Street - Boston MA 02115 - USA

Designing Together 2008 - Living in the Américas

Oct 24, 2008

John H. Pilling Home../John_H_Pilling/about_JHP.html
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey - Campus Ciudad de Mexico

BAC / ITESM Parallel Studio 






While I have been struck by a profound building, piece of art, or natural beauty, these are not the things that define a place. The people that live somewhere, and the cultural identity that they have

defines what a place is.

Alec Adamic

I feel it is essential to good design to know both for whom you are designing and also the wealth and breadth of options and methods there are out in the world to influence our design. If we never travelled outside our own home base, we would never challenge the design of our world with anything different than what we have already seen.

Ben Newlin

The toy I built is a game consisting of balls connected by string and two targets to throw them into. I chose to use colorful targets and chords to mimic the colorful toys we had seen. Also, I chose a simple concept that is extremely adaptable by the user to create whatever game they want to.

Architecture is a three and four-dimensional practice and art. Architecture has to be interacted with, pictures and writing only capture part of the story and is a biased opinion of the work, only first hand experience can truly unlock the emotion that architecture is suppose to create in the observer

Chris Vance

Mexican Fire - The tiny unsuspecting shiny green pepper brought agonizing pain to my Saturday afternoon for about two hours. My pain went through a two stage processes. It began with biting through the soft skin of the jalapeno, which was chewy and melted quickly. Then an explosion of heat and burning, moving from the tip of my tongue to the rear. The heat kept pulsing and spreading. My eyes started tearing and felt like I was crying blood. Then the second phase set in, which was and intense ringing and heat radiating from my ears. My world closed in and I felt like I was sitting in a dark box with no door or windows. Only milk could slightly tame the burning pain from the jalapeno.

This candy is designed to contrast the flavors of sweet and spicy. I have to say that I didn’t care for it. I created a stage, that is the mouth and can have different backdrops and characters for different flavors. In the case of the candy I chose a devil character with a candy backdrop. However, candy is a social item, and the backdrop could also be other people that are sharing the candy with the person who is seeing the world.

In a similar vein to “Man of Fire” by Jose Clemente Orozco, I respond to my collection of research noting the close presence of strife to each Mexican during their personal legacy of life. The history of Mexico and life today is a colorful mix of people and emotions searching for something - perhaps not so different from the search of any man, including my own. In the end, I set this colorful mix ablaze in salute of the condition of the cycle of life, death and a deep history of blood.

Derek Osterman

The only way to truly understand Barragán’s architecture is to experience it and explore the places that inspired him. I hope to be inspirited by my travels to Mexico in a way that creatively informs my design sensibilities. True inspiration comes in many forms. It develops from what you grew up with, it is enhanced by what you learn through experience, and it culminates into what you dream about. I hope that by immersing myself in a new place where my senses will be heightened I will gain the inspiration to drive me to design great things.

In his Pritzker Prize acceptance speech Barragán spoke about the importance

designing architecture that provides a place of beauty, serenity and silence.

This model is an illustration of how four walls can provide a barrier to a chaotic


Diana Jeffrey

The opportunity to travel to Mexico and experience what we’ve only begun to immerse ourselves in will be a lifelong lesson. It will continue my understanding of the diverse world we live in and, the various ways civilization takes root and evolves. There are many ways I expect to mature from this experience but it is the ones that are unknown that most excite me. The lens through which I see the world and how I approach design will undoubtedly be changed by it and I thank you for the chance.

Orozco Response: “With lines of communication cut, the inhabitants of the city were brought close to starvation, work was at a standstill, there was misery everywhere.  Obregón therefore ordered hundreds of thousands of pesos to be distributed, in the form a paper money that rolled off the plates faster than newspapers on a rotary press, but without any silver behind it.”

Jovan Tanasijevic

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I find that drawing from past experiences when designing a studio project or having a discussion with a client is the most helpful tool you can use to successfully explain a concept or idea.

Bobby Williams

When reading Luvina the images that flashed through my head were colorless and dark. I saw and old man’s face worn and wrinkled waiting to die. Yet once he crossed over his skull was smiling as if death itself was better than life in Luvina. I envisioned the swirling black wind slowly erasing the lone traveler who holds his hand out in front with his head down in search of his escape before his illusions are forever lost.

Calavera Catrina Barbie” is a second toy response to both Mexican culture and American pop culture. Also in the spirit of Posada’s work and the collectable figurines it has inspired in Mexico, this Calavera

was hand crafted to the same proportions as the ever controversial “Barbie Doll”. Dressed in her best, and signature “Barbie” pink, she well represents the traditional “Catrina”. I could have used a mass

produced plastic skeleton for this doll, after all Barbie does come off an assembly line. However, she is handcrafted to achieve the fleshy and alive quality as seen in Mexican Calaveras.


1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1-1/2 cups diced mangos

1/2 seeded and finely chopped chili

1 tsp chili pepper flakes

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup pineapple rum

Combine all ingredients except rumin pot, bring to boil.

Boil about 2 mins, and then move down to simmer for 5 mins.

Let mixture cool to room temperature. Pour mixture into blender and add rum. Pulse blender to puree.

Pour mixture into shallow dish or container and freeze 8 hrs.minimum.

Fluff with fork and serve immediately

Janine Croke

Mexico. It is the first place I am sure, once pre-conceived notions and prejudices are put aside, I know absolutely nothing

about.  I still can not wait to get there and see, smell, taste, and respond to everything that I come in contact with.

The Mexican art is so dynamic and bold compared to what I have studied previously, and I think it will give me a fresh perspective on how my works can reflect my life and environment

In his acceptance speech for the Pritzker Prize, Luis Barragán discusses the importance of beauty and fantasy as well as the importance of the solitude of man. He uses the example of El Pedregal, an expanse of volcanic rock south of Mexico City to illustrate the importance of solitude. Solitude allowed him to discover the hidden beauty of the place and its secret islands of greenery.

Devon Cough

I may be naive and still early on in my career that I have not been tainted as of yet, but still believe that architecture can make a difference in the world

Listening to Rulfo read his works was a long, slow process in which he put meaning into each word.  His words painted a picture of desolation and solitude.  Rulfo is able to personify the landscape and the wind itself because a it is a vital character in the stories.  There is a grey overcast to his writing and his words that makes you feel the dust blowing in the wind and the dark of the night.

Michelle Stadelman

A true appreciation of architecture can only be accomplished by understanding the interconnectedness of all aspects of culture from belief systems to language to structures, for a person's living space and their worship space are so closely tied to personal beliefs that they cannot be separated.

Susan Twomey

The candy was a combination of flavors I had never experienced before. Both spicy and sweet it wasn’t in the way I usually associated with these two tastes. The combination was not mashed together as you might think it would be, but rather 2 different sensations occurring together.  The first bite is slightly sweet, and tastes similar to a dried fruit strip. But almost as quickly as the sweet register the jalapeno flavor pricks the back of your tongue. With each subsequent taste the fire becomes stronger and creep forward along your tongue. In contrast to tasting an actual chili pepper this burning does not sink down through your throat, but rather concentrates on your tongue.

Ted Schwartz

What I embark on this journey to accomplish is to understand how the elements of life can be translated into simple forms and spaces. I come to forget that the plane to my left is a concrete wall and the rough surface above is a plaster ceiling with a hand trowel finish and the delicate lines in the opening ahead are actually window frames. I seek to sense how one space feels serene and why another does not, to know what allows joy in the\same room as death, and to know how solitude feels in a city of twenty-million people. It is the intangibles that can only be felt in person that will be the center of my study.

“While walking along the lava crevices, under the shadow of imposing ramparts of live rock, I suddenly discovered to my astonishment, small secret green valleys the shepherds call them “jewels”

Response to Acceptance Speech By Luis Barragan