Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)




Impermanence and maintenance are two words often associated with the discourse of temporal architecture; durability, sustainability, efficiency, are all keywords to measure the value of a structure. The architect strives for an everlasting building: a monument of the superiority and knowledge of the designer. However, in order to retain its enduring status, it must succumb to the act of maintenance. Typically seen as a solution or a key player in the game of the architectural resistance of time, maintenance is rarely seen as the question in which to design around.

What happens when architecture is created around the act of maintenance?

This thesis explores the possible design reactions to this question in the context of building practices and its influences in Acapulco, Mexico. Tourism and other extractive regimes based in capitalism have dramatically transformed the built landscape of Acapulco, forcing urban asymmetry and localized wealth. While tourism brings economic opportunity to the region, competition between multinational corporations and local businesses are unfair and not only perpetuate financial distress, but also create exploitative circumstances. As a result, transcalar moments of intentional impermanence have become the recognizable typology throughout the city. At the individual scale are the mobile vendors; operating at the group scale are the unofficial businesses attached to residencies, and lastly, the large group scale being open-air markets known as Tianguis.

This design re-imagines these typologies in a scenario in which they harvest the local knowledge of maintenance and labor deeply rooted in Mexican artisan history as a kit of parts that temporarily serve the function demanded by its user. To illustrate the kit of parts and its modularity, the thesis exists during a local festival and follows moments in the city where the procession unrolls and how the kit of parts can facilitate these moments of gathering and celebration.

Included in

Architecture Commons



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