by Giacomo Castagnola
Originally from Lima Peru, for the last years I lived and worked in Tijuana, México, where I established Germen Estudio of architecture and design. In Lima my work focused on exploring the “informal” city, the city of shanties and barriadas. In Tijuana my interest shifted towards the investigation of the architectural experience of the migrant.
Suddenly in the position of the informal settler, the illegal, without solid networks and without the privileges afforded citizens, I understood that these conditions render what we call “design or planning” impossible since there are no bases upon which to establish a consistent methodology or plan. Rather, what takes place is physical consolidation and construction that negotiates between needs and situations. Instead of the pre-established idea of the project, its plan or design, architecture results from the constant procedural exercise of self-construction, growth and appropriation.