Sanz Serif, a makeshift nickname earned as a result of my typographic likes, is the umbrella under which I present the diverse facets of my work: academic research on architecture and urbanism, design speculations, graphic design, curatorial and editorial work, and writings developed individually or collaborately, in institutional settings or independently.

Current focus: Workscapes.


"Meet your Maker" theory seminar at The Berlage [Presentation]

Today I talked about industry, the Good Life, and Bata in the theory seminar "Meet your Maker: how an Industrial Renaissance can bring production back" held at The Berlage and conducted by Marta Relats, research director of the chair Design as Politics at the Faculty of Architecture and the Build Environment at TU Delft.

Thanks Marta for the invitation and the great discussion!

From the syllabus of the seminar:

The Good Life is about balance. Systems theory tells us that when all the parts of a system are equally developed and in balance, there is harmony and equilibrium, and a space in which to evolve. When one of the parts of a system has for some reason outgrown the others, firstly, it does so at the expense of the other parts being underdeveloped, and neglected and, secondly, it reaches quickly a point of degeneration. Generally that leads to the collapse of the system and its eventual disappearance, giving rise to a new system. This dynamic can be more or less explicit, more or less dramatic, more or less material. In the history of mentalities it is known as a change of paradigm, in economics it is a crisis (or a “crack”) followed by a recovery, in the natural world it is a natural disaster followed by a natural regrowth, and so on.

It is arguably the system of goods production among the ones with greater impact on the way we live. We will hypothesize that it is that way in the seminar, and we will examine the reasons why: productive life, jobs, determine for the majority of the active population where they live, how many hours a day they commute, where they are and what they do for the greater part of their time. The produced goods determine what people can afford: goods produced en masse are affordable and can reach many, small series are more expensive and therefore exclusive.

It is by the evolution of our productive system we label society: agrarian societies, industrial societies, information societies, knowledge society (the one we are supposedly in). 

Perhaps that last one has been labeled in a hurry: we are not quite there yet in the Star Trek utopian society where all material needs have been solved at a planetary scale and human beings can dedicate their lives to knowledge: this is not what our knowledge society means. What it means and why it is not true (why we are not there yet) we will elaborate on in the seminar.

In order for it to become true, among other things we would need to work on our productive system, which is far from ideal and far from balance. It is because of the malfunction of the economic system that there has been a recession (that they are in fact periodic), it is the most salient contributor to environmental degradation, and it is also the reason why many human capabilities are underdeveloped and deprived of nourishment. We will elaborate on each of these.


196,925m & PGDUDF as research cases in Mexican Cities Initiative at the GSD [Research]

Two of my projects--196965m and PGDUDF--have been selected as case studies for the Mexican Cities Initiative (MCI) at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Take a look at them in the MCI portfolio:
Filed under 'Rethinking scales of knowledge': 196925m (with Laura Janka)
Filed under 'Alternative Urban Futures': PGDUDF (For SEDUVI)
The Mexican Cities Initiative at the Harvard Graduate school of Design is an emerging platform for experimental ideas and actionable knowledge to help guide the transformation of Mexico’s urban landscapes over the next decades. Drawing on the generous support of Mr. Rolando Uziel, a GSD Alumni, and under the direction of Diane Davis, Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism, the Initiative supports a network of partnerships in Mexico, a public archive of Mexico-based research conducted at the GSD, and an annual competition for innovative summer student fellowships to research and communicate risk and resilience through the lens of everyday urbanism.

13th Docomomo International Conference Seoul 2014 [Poster]


Although unfortunately I won't be attending, my work on Batanagar new town will be exhibited at the poster session at the 13th Docomomo International Conference Seoul 2014, which in this occassion has as a main theme Expansion and Conflict.

The 13th Docomomo International Conference Seoul 2014 is international biennual conference hosted by Docomomo International, promoted in Asia for the first time. 

Docomomo Seoul 2014 is attended by not only architectural historians, but also artists, architects, urban‧architectural‧civil engineering‧landscaping‧administration peoples and citizens and every one who share the same intention; to let the world know originality and superiority of our modern cultural heritage. 

There will be various events such as international and domestic seminars, ISC meetings, world modern cultural heritage exhibition, korean modern cultural heritage tour and public participations. We believe that this Conference will give opportunity for young to feel and to experience our modern heritage and for experts to participate in making better world, connecting past and present. 


International Conference. 20th Century New Towns: Archetypes and Uncertainties [Presentation]

Next May 23rd I will be presenting my research on Bata at the International Conference 20th Century New Towns: Archetypes and Uncertainties, organized by the School of Architecture of the Escola Superior Artistica do Porto.

More info here

Archetypes and Uncertainties

The planning and settlement of new towns were originated by different reasons. In twentieth century cities perhaps the largest reason was to determine new territorial and urban planning structures that would allow a better organization of the territory, ensuring the development of more efficient and balanced socio-economic models.

In some cases the construction of these cities was inspired by the principles of the nineteenth century English utopias, reflecting a strong concern in integrating the urban and natural components and highlighting the role of the natural landscape, understood as a city matrix on which articulates the urban structures.

In other cases the inspiration come from the rationalist ideals of the modern movement, seeking to personify the idealistic and democratic spirit of a new world order, producing rational and functional solutions and even if sometimes they do not fully overcome certain obstacles, an important contribution to the urban and architectural theory and practice advance was made.

Furthermore, other cases relate to the post-modernism and the emergence of critical views of the modern movement. These towns were born to give an answer to the problem posed by the large settlements deindustrialization and de-urbanization, assuming the role of organized urban extensions needed for controlling the sprawl of existing cities which was made through a process of unordered and peripheral urbanization.

Some focused mainly on a completely physical, economic and administrative independency in relation to major urban centres. Others, even if based partially on these principles of independence and geographical isolation, were planned as secondary structure networks dependent from a main urban conurbation. Many of these experiments have already been object of diversified studies addressing more or less specific thematic areas, seeking to define and apply critical and analytical methodologies to better understand and decode the processes and design criteria that were the basis of their urban and architectural morphologies.

Opting for an analytical prospective directed to re-contextualizing the urban and architectural contributions of these experiences, the conference 20th century new towns – archetypes and uncertainties aims to discuss their real effects in the present being especially welcome papers focusing on the following two aspects:

I. Archetypes | Spatiality, materiality and identities which persisted over time, not only because they have a high symbolism or because they are the emblematic testimony of a precise thinking about how to re-understand the city in a particular historical moment, but also and especially to continue maintaining the answering capacity to functional and practical demands of contemporary society. They are, in short, realities that did not required significant or radical changes to fulfil their function properly. The reasons for these archetypes remaining active and appropriate may contribute to recognize them as meaningful and timeless, distant from temporal gestures which respond only to contemporary needs.

II. Uncertainties | Parts or components of the urban system that remained incomplete, leading to realities that persisted “open” or that were completed through different intentions, appropriation processes or intervention criteria from those planned in their original design. The nature of these uncertainties could be a further indicator of the effects produced by these archetypes in the city development.

Additionally the conference will focus three main thematic/panels covering the post-war satellite towns (as the New Towns Programme and other European similar experiences), the modern cities (as Brasilia or Chandigarh) and a more local perspective embarking the Lusophone New Towns (mainly in Lusophone Africa, but also in Brazil). The conference peer-reviewed call for papers will cover these topics and the communications will be organized under the respective panels, not excluding the possibility of accepting other related topics if they reveal pertinent for the global aims of the conference.


MAN: Maps for the National Archeological Museum in Madrid [Mapping]


I had the chance of visiting in advance the recently renovated National Archeological Museum in Madrid, and taking a look on site at the +60 maps I designed for its exhibition rooms. Here there are some pictures. More images here.