By selecting architects whose practice demonstrates a critical engagement, Mexico City’s LIGA is a space which both platforms and proposes the means by which architects can reshape the fabric of the city.
Established in 2011, LIGA is an independent, non-profit platform in Mexico City, operating as a platform for Latin American architecture, as a laboratory for experimentation, and for the furthering of disciplinary discourse. The intervention ‘On the Other Side’ by Juan Campanini and Josefina Sposito at LIGA proposes architecture as a liminal device capable of conditioning our perception of space and social processes.
This essay is part of Issue #2 “Fair Play”, a series curated by KoozArch.
"Facing the façade" by LIGA
LIGA was established with the aim of showcasing, reflecting upon, and problematising architecture. This mission extends beyond the physical realm; it involves reclaiming architecture as a form of intellectual inquiry, dissecting it into various nuanced aspects, and emphasising detail rather than overarching arguments. The architects Juan Campanini and Josefina Sposito, in their exhibition On the Other Side, have steered clear of discussing their work in broad strokes. Instead, they've delved into specific elements of their projects, raising fundamental questions, as is the case with the examination of design and its relationship with society.
By crafting a new façade, Josefina and Juan's intervention at LIGA reinterprets Mexico City’s landscape as a fragmented tapestry, composed of multiple recognisable elements. Building on this premise, they suggest the reinvigoration of architectural practice as a defining factor responsible for shaping urban form — which often attempts to standardise what occurs on the streets, despite all of its contingencies within. It is a reflection on how façades constitute or reconfigure the urban image, thereby enabling new interpretations of their context. On the other hand, intervening in LIGA's existing façade — which is known to the neighbourhood's residents — provides the opportunity to contemplate a transformation, the possibility of a new identity, as it is directly connected to the street and thus, linked to the public sphere of the city.
This new façade presents and exhibits the practices that take place within the space; it establishes new connections with the surrounding environment and provides something to the community from a fresh perspective.
Juan Campanini, Josefina Sposito, On the Other Side, 2023. Facade installation on Dr. Erazo Street, Ciudad de México. Photo: Arturo Arrieta.
LIGA is situated within a socially complex context. Since our arrival at this new space in 2018, we have continued to make efforts to engage with the community through various initiatives. This new façade presents and exhibits the practices that take place within the space; it establishes new connections with the surrounding environment and provides something to the community from a fresh perspective.
Moreover, this intervention prompts us to question what it means to exhibit architecture. What is unveiled when one participates in such formats? Do we rely on the miniaturised representation of architecture through plans, images, photographs, models, videos and so on.? Or is it possible to think about the act of exhibiting architecture differently? What possibilities arise from rethinking the content and format of architecture exhibitions?
With On the Other Side, the architects present a project in and of itself, as well as the ideas it encompasses, rather than a mere representation of their work.
With On the Other Side, the architects present a project in and of itself, as well as the ideas it encompasses, rather than a mere representation of their work: it interrogates and challenges the space with which they are working. Inside the exhibit, a live video-feed shows what happens in real-time, enhancing the presence of the façade within the space. The first thing pedestrians encounter, whether or not they attend the exhibition, is the transformed façade. Who is the target audience for an architecture exhibition? Through this intervention, LIGA broadens its impact and awareness beyond the interior space and out into the street, extending possibilities for the pedestrian.
Juan Campanini and Josefina Sposito’s intervention proposes a rethinking of architecture's role in shaping the urban environment and consequently, of all interactions occurring within these boundaries.
Juan Campanini and Josefina Sposito’s intervention proposes a rethinking of architecture's role in shaping the urban environment and consequently, of all interactions occurring within these boundaries. Their efforts are centred on design, driven by a dedicated exploration, which they seamlessly blend with their academic pursuits. At LIGA, we take it upon ourselves to seek out practices that are deeply committed to our profession: practices that present new narratives regarding architecture and its societal impact. In this context, this intervention seamlessly moves between the tangible and the digital, the external and the internal, the city and the gallery. Through this new façade, one can perceive an intent, even on a symbolic scale, to contribute to the fabric of the city.
LIGA - Space for Architecture is a non-profit, independent platform founded in Mexico City in 2011. Its mission is to promote contemporary Latin American architecture through exhibitions, publications, events, conferences, workshops, archives, texts, and more. LIGA was conceived as a curatorial space to encourage experimentation and reflection regarding contemporary architecture and its potential as a discursive practice. It operates as a laboratory for testing ideas, reasserting architecture as a form of thought through diverse formats. One of its main formats involves hosting individual exhibitions by architects or architecture studios. LIGA invites its guests to consider their work through an exhibition that conveys their thinking, methodology, and philosophy, encouraging them to rethink the significance of representing their practice.